Over the weekend, the Vancouver Aquarium’s number of belugas went down by one. You may remember the sudden loss of Nala, a one year old calf, who died last year and Tuvaq who died from infection at the age of two, but this story doesn’t end in tragedy. Imaq (Nala’s father) has relocated to SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas to join four other belugas. The hope is that one of the three new females will tickle his fancy, leading to mating and breeding.There are currently 38 belugas in captivity throughout North America and they’re hoping to increase this.
In the wild, females usually give birth to one calf every three years and mating season is usually from February to March, but isn’t totally limited to just those months. There are only about 100,000 worldwide and in 2008 was classified “near threatened” by the IUCN. Belugas enjoy Arctic and Sub-Arctic waters and can be found in waters around Canada, Alaska, Russia and Greenland.
The Vancouver Sun has a detailed play-by-play of how Imaq’s big move went. The Vancouver Aquarium is also planning on building a new tank that’s three times the size of the current one that houses the remaining four female belugas.