What’s in a name? The Shedd Aquarium is hoping it’s your input.
Born at the aquarium this summer, a now four-month-old, adorable beluga whale calf is six-feet long and weighs 330 pounds, and he’s swimming pretty close to mama these days. He’s also nameless, but that’s about to change.
The official voting for the calf’s name got under way Friday at the Shedd’s “Asleep With the Fishes” overnight event, where 300 attendees became the first to cast their votes from among a list of name options selected by the animal care staff at the aquarium.
And now it’s your turn.
As is customary for all belugas at the Shedd, the name must come from the Intuit language, native to the region of the Arctic populated by the whales. (The calf’s 38-year-old mom is named Mauyak, which means “soft snow.”)
You can cast your vote for the calf’s name from among the following:
• Annik (AH-nik), meaning blizzard
• Imavik (EE-mah-vik), meaning ocean
• Ikullak (EE-koo-lak), meaning confident
• Naniitchuk (nah-nee-EET-chuk), meaning brave
• Kulu (KOO-loo), a term of endearment for babies and young children
“It was such a wonderful surprise when we got to tell the kids and families at the overnight that they were going to help us choose a name for this special calf,” said Samantha Norton, senior director of learning programs at Shedd Aquarium, via statement.
Some interesting facts about the beluga whales, courtesy of the Shedd Aquarium:
Belugas are found in the Arctic and the circumpolar waters of North America, Russia and Greenland. Belugas can be easily recognized by their white color, the absence of a dorsal fin, attributable to their habitat, and the distinctive rounded “melon,” the echolocation organ at the front of the head. Adult belugas can grow up to 18 feet long and weigh more than 3,000 pounds. Like other toothed whales, belugas use sounds and echolocation for navigation, to find breathing holes in the ice and to hunt in dark or turbid waters.