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Shedd Aquarium’s baby beluga whale has a name

More than 20,000 votes were cast in a weeklong campaign to select the name for the four-month-old calf born on July 3.

The Shedd Aquarium’s baby beluga whale born July 3, and now named Annik, swims with his mom Mauyak.
The Shedd Aquarium’s baby beluga whale born July 3, and now named Annik, swims with his mom Mauyak.
Shedd Aqaurium/ Brenna Hernandez

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.

Shedd Aquarium guests at Asleep with the Fishes received a sticker after casting a vote for their favorite whale name.
Shedd Aquarium guests at Asleep with the Fishes received a sticker after casting a vote for their favorite whale name.
Shedd Aquarium

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.

Baby beluga whale Annik swims with his mom Mauyak at the Shedd Aquarium.
Baby beluga whale Annik swims with his mom Mauyak at the Shedd Aquarium.
Shedd Aqaurium/ Brenna Hernandez