A Whale of a Tale

"Your mom's a whale."

"Yeah? Well your dad's a beluga."

We can only imagine that's what it sounds like in the main pool of the Arctic Coast exhibit at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration.

Two of the seven beluga whales from Shedd Aquarium in Chicago have been introduced to Mystic's three resident belugas, and Mystic says they've been "socializing."

The hope is that they'll get along well but not "too" well. That's because the belugas, along with four Pacific white-sided dolphins, are only on vacation from Shedd's Oceanarium while it's being renovated.

Naluark and Kayavak were the first two introduced. The others are acclimating in one of the exhibit's adjacent pools.

“The introduction of Shedd’s belugas to ours has been – and will continue to be – a gradual process,” Dr. Tracy Romano, senior vice president of research and zoological operations at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration, said. “In addition to acclimating to their new outdoor surroundings, Shedd’s belugas must adjust to living with a new pod of whales in the main pool, just as our whales must adjust to their new visitors.

Romano said the slow introduction is worth the wait.

“Introducing one whale at a time helps to maintain the health and comfort of all of the animals, which is our top priority."

New programs starting in December will allow visitors to learn more about the belugas’ behaviors and acclimation process while getting closer to the animals, Romano said.

Once the whales are settled in, you'll be able to visit them by taking part in one of two programs. 

One will offer a close-up experience in the main pool. 

The second program will offer a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium, complete with a hands-on experience.

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