SeaWorld Beluga Calf Update
Update (7/13/15): All of us at SeaWorld are saddened by the loss of our beluga calf, who died yesterday after weeks of intensive, round the clock care. The three-week old calf was born about a month premature.
The calf was not gaining weight at the rate our veterinarians expected, even though it did nurse from its mother. To supplement those feedings, the animal care team hand fed her specialized marine mammal infant formula seven times a day. A necropsy will be performed this morning, with results expected in six to eight weeks. Losing an animal in our care is never easy, and we thank everyone for their thoughts and support during this difficult time for our team.
Since our newest addition to the SeaWorld San Antonio beluga family was born on June 20, our team has been diligently monitoring and supporting mom and calf.
The beluga calf was born prematurely and appeared smaller than typical. We were encouraged that she began nursing on her own and bonding with her mother. However, these early months are crucial and she still has some critical milestones to reach, including significant weight gain. Our zoological team is monitoring the calf 24 hours a day and have begun supplemental feedings to assist with her weight gain.
A team of about 20 caretakers take turns on baby beluga watch, observing and recording her respiration, activity and nursing sessions, assessing her weight gain, and feeding her a special formula six times a day. SeaWorld developed this special cetacean formula more than 20 years ago, consisting of nutrients, salmon oil and whipping cream. It’s been a successful dietary supplement for cetacean calves, including young rescued animals that are ill, injured or orphaned.
We appreciate all your positive thoughts for mom, baby and the team that is passionately caring for them both.