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Beluga calf

Shedd Aquarium's baby belua turns one!

Nunavik is, hands down, the cutest cast member of A Holiday Fantasea. While Mom and the other big belugas swim through their parts in this new show, Nunavik has a training session—unless he decides to take a spin around Whale Harbor. But when Puiji gets her reward for a behavior, he’s back at her side to get a fish from the trainer, too. (Please note that Puiji and Nunavik aren’t in every show.)

 Nunavik graduated to solid food several months ago. These days he eats about 5 pounds of capelin a day—and also nurses regularly, often after a training session or show. At his last exam, he weighed 460 pounds—up 300 from his birth weight.

The calf was named during the summer by Chicagoans and other Shedd fans, who e-mailed more than 3,200 votes for the Inuit word that means “friendly, beautiful and wild.” Most of Shedd’s belugas have names from the language of the Inuit, the native people in the whales’ Arctic range.

Nunavik is the fifth successful beluga birth at the aquarium. Shedd is one of six North American aquariums and zoos committed to public display and breeding of beluga whales. When Nunavik isn’t with his mom, he spends a lot of time with our two other young belugas, Bella, 4, and Miki, 3. All three are good at inventing games to play, especially with the balls, car-wash strips and other toys put in their pools.

Shedd Aquarium’s newest baby beluga whale has a name!

What do you get for a beluga whale on his six-month birthday? A name! After nearly a month, the votes are in. The people of Chicago have spoken and a name for the newest member of Shedd Aquarium’s marine mammal family, a male beluga whale born on Dec. 14 last year, has been chosen. Nunavik (New-na-vik) meaning friendly, beautiful and wild in Inuit was revealed this morning by ABC 7 Traffic Anchor Roz Varon during a live broadcast from Shedd.

Over 3,200 votes were cast during the naming contest. Nunavik was chosen over several other names, some included were, Kimalu which is a traditional Inuit name given to special people, Tuwawi meaning quick, Nilak meaning fresh water ice. Almost all of Shedd’s beluga whales derive their names from the Inuit language of the native people who live in the Arctic region, which is the animals’ natural range.

The six-month-old Nunavik is strong, healthy and certainly growing. Weighing over 400 pounds, almost double his weight at birth, the calf is the fifth successful beluga birth at Shedd Aquarium. 

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