We admit, we were on alligator watch with everyone else as Humboldt Park Lagoon’s elusive gator caught the attention of everyone here in Chicago and plenty of people all over the country. We worried when he hadn’t been spotted for a while, tuned in to the live feed when Alligator Bob went boating on the lagoon to find him, and cheered for Chance and Alligator Robb when the fiasco finally finished yesterday.
We also admit we were a little in love with this feisty beast and his toothy grin. But just like there’s other fish in the sea (or, you know, reptiles in the fresh water…) there are plenty of amazing creatures nearby at the Shedd Aquarium for you to fall in love with. It’s been quite an amazing past few weeks for the Shedd Aquarium, and they’ve added some cute new faces to the roster of amazing animals you can see on any given day just by heading to Museum Campus.
First to arrive on Wednesday, July 3 at 7:23 pm was a baby beluga whale. Born to the Shedd Aquarium’s 38 year old beluga Mayauk, the little guy was 5 feet long and weighed 150 pounds on arrival. Beluga whales are critically endangered, and the last time Mayauk gave birth was back in 2012. Mother and baby were both doing well after the 33 minute delivery, and will be under close watch of the animal care team at the Shedd Aquarium. Meanwhile, since beluga births are so rare to witness in the wild (and indeed, rare to witness in general) scientists will be able to use the data that they acquired during Mayauk’s pregnancy to help understand beluga whales better and hopefully, help preserve and grow populations in the wild, and skills acquired in care of the mother and child will help the aquarium learn to better care for the whales, and hopefully aid rescue, rehabilitation and release efforts in the future.
While this cute face doesn’t yet have a name attached to it, just yesterday it was revealed that our new baby beluga friend is a boy! Fetal folds in the whale’s skin make it hard to determine sex until a few weeks out from birth, when the whale’s skin smooths out, which is why we’re just now getting to the gender reveal. While the whales’ schedule has been changed to accomodate mother/baby bonding time and critical postnatal care, if you make the effort to keep up with the whales’ progress on the Shedd Aquarium’s Twitter and Facebook pages, you’ll be able to schedule a visit when he’s around to meet and greet.
Two more up and coming cute Chicago residents at the Shedd are Pups 870 and 872.
These two adorable sea otters were rescued by the Monterey Bay Aquarium in May and reached the Shedd Aquarium’s Regenstein Sea Otter Nursery shortly afterward. While Pup 870 was relatively healthy when he was rescued, Pup 872 was found shivering, hypothermic and distressed. Both pups are male, and about a week apart in age. Thanks to the veterinary teams at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Shedd Aquarium, both of the pups are also healthy and thriving today. These boys will continue to be monitored for health and in reaching developmental milestones behind the scenes, and be able to make their public debut in the coming weeks to months, depending on how they do.
As for the numbers instead of names? Once the Shedd formalizes their naming plans for these guys, they’ll let you know.
For more information on these awesome animals or to schedule a visit, click here.