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Beluga whale born in Hunan aquarium

Updated: Oct 31,2014 8:47 AM     China Daily

A beluga whale feeds her newborn son at Changsha Underwater World in Hunan province on Thursday-the first to be born at a Chinese aquarium. The calf is about 1.5 meters long and weighs 40 kg. The mother, named Zhuoya, was in labor for five hours after a 15-month pregnancy, the aquarium said.[Photo by Zhou Qiang/China Daily]

Changsha Underwater World in Hunan province is the home of a new baby beluga whale, the aquarium announced on Oct 30.

The baby beluga whale, born at 1:14 pm on Oct 29, is about 1.5 meters long and weighs 40 kg. The male calf is the first white whale ever born in a Chinese aquarium.

The aquarium posted several pictures of the birth of the calf on its micro blog, garnering thousands of online fans for the new arrival.

The mother whale, named Zhuoya, was in labor for five hours after her 15-month pregnancy, the aquarium said.

The aquarium didn’t release the name of the calf.

For the first time at a zoo in China, a white whale gave birth to a calf in Changsha, Hunan province, on Oct 29.[Photo by Huang Wei/Asianewsphoto]

Typically, white whales give birth to a single calf every three years, and the gestation period is 14 to 15 months.

In a video released online by netizen Liusi0511, the calf emerged tail-first before the whole body slid into the water.

The calf’s parents were sent to the aquarium separately in 2010 from Russia, said Xiao Yong, director of the aquarium’s animal training department. The whales were a couple in Russia, he added. But after their six-month separation, the two didn’t “have a crush” on each other anymore when they were reunited in Changsha that October, Xiao said, adding that the aquarium tried to get the two mated in 2011 but failed.

Zhouya became pregnant in July when she was 8 years old and her mate was 20.

Monogamous beluga whales live in the icy waters of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. An adult beluga can grow to 3 to 5.5 meters, weighing 700 to 1,600 kg.

A study by R.E.A. Stewart in 2006 estimated they can live 70 to 80 years.

The calf begins to emerge, tail first.[Photo by Huang Wei/Asianewsphoto]

The cow was in labor for five hours.[Photo by Huang Wei/Asianewsphoto]

Typically cows give birth to a single calf every three years.[Photo by Huang Wei/Asianewsphoto]

[Photo by Zhou Qiang/Asianewsphoto]

[Photo by Zhou Qiang/Asianewsphoto]

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