GREEN

Mama Whale Gives Birth, Immediately Smothers Baby Beluga With Cuddles

05/19/2015 06:22 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2015

Anyone having a rough day needs to take a long, hard look at this precious, smiling beluga whale newborn:

Story continues below…
maris calf cover

In the video above, you can watch as Maris, a beluga whale at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, actually gives birth to this cute female calf on Mother’s Day.

giving birth

Maris pushing her calf out during labor.

The calf weighed 126.5 pounds and was 59 inches long at birth, according to the aquarium. She doesn’t have a name yet, and the aquarium has said a name or naming contest will be announced in the coming months.

Upon being born, the calf immediately swam to the surface to take in her first gulp of air, with mommy helping to keep her near the surface.

gulp

Maris helps her newborn take in her first breath of air just seconds after delivery.

Whether in an aquarium or in the wild, calves faces a host of challenges, Eric Gaglione, the director of zoological operations, mammals and birds at the aquarium, told The Huffington Post. The first year of their lives are most critical period in their development.

During this time, Gaglione said, “There are major milestones for the animal to achieve, [including] bonding with mom, successful nursing, species appropriate growth and social development, integrating and socializing with other belugas, and weaning from mother's milk to eating whole fish.”

nuzzle

Maris and her newborn cuddling.

Maris, part of the Cold Water Quest habitat at the Georgia Aquarium -- which was the world’s largest aquarium until 2012 -- is currently out of public view so she and her calf can “focus on each other during this critical phase,” the museum said, adding that it remains “guardedly optimistic” for a happy, healthy outcome.

Gaglione said the calf will stay with her mother for the foreseeable future as she continues to grow and learn, and the staff will monitor her as she grows. She will be introduced to the other beluga whales at the aquarium when she has grown to the appropriate size and stage of development.

calf smiling

You can follow Maris and her baby’s updates on Georgia Aquarium’s blog.

Animal Moms And Babies
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