A Beluga whale, born last month at the Primorsky Aquarium in Vladivostok, has been shown to the public for the first time in its short life, the facility announced on Wednesday, marking a historic event for the tourist attraction.
Jessica, a beluga whale, became a mother for the first time in her life. Her strong and active baby was born on August 1, a press release revealed. “While it is Jessica’s first experience of giving birth for 14-year-old Jessica, but it also was a unique event for Russia.”
According to Igor Kostychev, who leads the dolphinarium at the aquarium facility, the calf spent the first days of her life alongside her parents learning how to swim, before putting her in front of the public. The animal now feels confident below the water, he revealed.
The newborn is now under close supervision by marine biologists.
The Primorsky Aquarium was opened by President Vladimir Putin in 2016 on Russky Island, across a long bridge from mainland Vladivostok. It is part of the National Scientific Center of Marine Biology and is the first aquarium to be included in the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Despite becoming a popular tourist attraction in the city, the first five years of the facility’s existence haven’t been plain sailing. Earlier this year, a trainer was put under investigation after a video leaked of him beating two adult male belugas.
In fact, issues at the dolphinarium began even before the building was completed and opened, with a group of anonymous employees in early 2015 alleging that six animals had already died and water had become infected with bacteria.
Earlier this year, a leading Russian parliamentarian proposed a new bill to ban the catching of marine mammals, which would eventually lead to the closure of the country’s many dolphinaria as collections could no longer be replenished. The draft law authored by Svetlana Bessarab, from the ruling United Russia party, would prevent the practice of taking animals such as dolphins, seals, and killer whales into captivity, including for educational purposes.
Credit: RT News