If you haven’t already met Pearl, let me introduce you to the most adorable beluga whale in the world! Pearl was born last year here at SeaWorld San Diego and she has quickly become an important part of our family of beluga whales at Wild Arctic.
Pearl weighed just 97 pounds when she was born on June 23, 2010, and today, she tips the scales at 280 pounds. She is now eating whole fish including herring, but still occasionally nurses.
Ruby is Pearl’s mother, but for reasons unknown to us, she didn’t bond with her calf initially. In this type of scenario in the wild, a calf would not survive without its mother.
However, since Pearl was born here at SeaWorld, our experienced trainers stepped in to hand-raise her.
They cared for her round-the-clock, including tube feeding her a special whale milk formula developed here at SeaWorld.
Eventually, Allua, another female whale who had shown previous maternal instincts (pictured below with Pearl), was introduced to the calf and the two quickly bonded. Not only is Allua providing companionship, but she is also helping with Pearl’s care, too.
Eventually Pearl was re-introduced to Ruby and they have bonded as well. She has also been introduced to our other beluga whales, Nanuk and Ferdinand.
Beluga whales are born a dark grey color and right around 2 years old they start developing their characteristic white coloring, which helps them camouflage themselves in the wild. Their white coloring allows them to blend in with icebergs and protects them from predators.
Pearl is doing fantastic and sometimes even swims by during our Beluga Interaction Program, where participants don wet suits and enter the water with these beautiful marine mammals.