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Something in the water? Dolphin and beluga pregnant at Shedd

Pacific white-sided dolphins are estimated to have a slightly shorter gestation period, nearly 12 months. Shedd’s animal care experts have estimated that Piquet will give birth this May. | Brenna Hernandez~Shedd Aquarium

This year is shaping up to be the year of the big baby at the Shedd Aquarium.

Pacific white-sided dolphin Piquet, 24, who weighs about 200 pounds, and beluga whale Mauyak, 31, who weighs 1,200 pounds, both are pregnant, aquarium officials announced Tuesday.

First time mother Piquet (PEE-ket) is due in May. Mauyak (My-AK), who gave birth to Qannik (kah-NIK) and Miki (MEE-kee) at the Shedd, is due in October, said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training. Ramirez said both animals are healthy, and their pregnancies are progressing normally.

Dolphin daddy Lii (LEE-ee) remains at the Miami Seaquarium, where he sired Piquet’s calf. Naluark (nah-LOO-ark), father to Mauyak’s calf, lives at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Conn.

Their absence won’t be missed, Ramirez said.

“The fathers don’t play any role in the rearing of the calf,” he said. “In the dolphin world – it sounds crass – males swim into a group of females, mate and move on.”

Kara Spak