Final 4 names for Shedd’s baby beluga

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There are four names to vote on in the WGN/Shedd Aquarium Name the Baby Beluga contest.

But these aren’t just any names — most of Shedd’s belugas have names from the language of the Inuit, the native people in the whales’ Arctic range. And, Shedd has a long tradition of giving its belugas and dolphins names that reflect the geography or the culture of the region where those species occur in the wild.

For Mauyak’s calf, the marine mammal trainers researched a number of words that could describe her. Here’s what they came up with:

Pronounced NEE-lohk
Meaning: Freshwater ice

Did you know beluga whales visit habitats outside of the ocean? Nilak, meaning “freshwater ice,” is the perfect name for our calf because belugas are one of the only species of whales or dolphins that travel to habitats less salty than seawater – such as tidal creeks and inlet rivers.

To vote for Nilak, text NAME1 to 97999


Beluga Mauyak (left) and her calf in April. Photo by Brenna Hernandez

Pronounced KEE-mah-loo
Meaning: Something or someone special

Although every whale born at the aquarium has been special, this baby is Mauyak’s first female calf. That’s why we want to name her Kimalu, a traditional Inuit name given to someone special.

To vote for Kimalu, text NAME2 to 97999

Pronounced AH-nee-ook
Meaning: Snow for drinking water

The beluga baby’s mother is named Mauyak, meaning “soft snow.” Naturally, her calf should have snow in her name, too! We like Aniuk, meaning “snow for drinking water.”

To vote for Aniuk, text NAME3 to 97999

Pronounced Ah-NON-ah
Meaning: Beautiful

This graceful and sociable animal glides through the water, lends curious gazes, and has a mouth that is permanently upturned like a smile. There is no better name than Anana, which not only means “beautiful” but sounds beautiful, too.

To vote for Anana, text NAME4 to 97999

Or you can vote for the baby beluga’s name online. Just click here!

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