The Shedd Aquarium’s baby beluga whale is nameless no more.
After more than 19,000 votes were cast in a weeklong campaign, the 4-month-old beluga male calf has been named Annik (AH-nik), which means “blizzard” in the Intuit language.
“We haven’t named a beluga calf at Shedd in seven years, so this was a special moment for guests but also for our staff and the beluga care team,” said Maris Muzzy, manager of whales and dolphins at Shedd Aquarium, via statement on Thursday.
“While [the calf’s mom] Mauyak’s name [which means “soft snow”] represents her calm, graceful demeanor, so does Annik describe this calf’s fierce spirit and rambunctious energy.”
The voting began Nov. 15 at the aquarium’s special “Asleep with the Fishes” overnight event; the general public then weighed in online and at the Shedd where voting stations were made available to guests.
Annik was born on July 3, and weighed between 150 and 300 pounds. He currently weighs 330 pounds and measures six feet in length.
Annik was one of five name finalists, which included: Imavik (meaning ocean), Ikullak (meaning confident), Naniitchuk (meaning brave) and Kulu (a term of endearment for babies and young children). As is customary for all belugas at the Shedd, the name had to come from the Intuit language, native to the region of the Arctic populated by the whales.