Stranded Baby Beluga Whale Rescued

For the first time in history, a live, stranded beluga whale calf has been found in U.S. waters and rescued. But saving this little fella, who was estimated to be only two or three days old when rescued, is requiring the efforts of marine mammal experts from around the country.

Experts from Shedd Aquarium, SeaWorld and Georgia Aquarium jumped to help Alaska SeaLife Center when the 112-pound calf was found. The 125 years of combined experience might seem excessive, but at present, the beluga's condition is critical due to his immature immune system, so these experts will need to work around the clock, feeding him every two hours, to keep him alive.

The calf was rescued on June 18 in Bristol Bay. He was spotted, all alone, following a major storm, and despite efforts to guide him to the open ocean, he continued returning to shore. Rescue was authorized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and shortly thereafter, three Alaska SeaLife Center staff flew from Seward to South Naknek airport to retrieve the calf.

Rescuers are optimistic about the calf's recovery. He's "swimming on his own, cooperating with feedings, and breathing regularly, which are all very positive signs," Dr. Carrie Goertz, staff veterinarian at the Alaska SeaLife Center, said in a press release. While the experts put their years of experience to the test, we'll be sending good thoughts their way.

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