Florida

SeaWorld welcomes two new beluga whales

SeaWorld Orlando has two new adorable residents.

The theme park announced that two beluga whales, both 11 year old males, are now part of the Wild Arctic pod.

Oliver hails from from SeaWorld San Antonio and Grayson from Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, according to the park’s blog post that called the whales “Incredible animals.”

The average life span of these carnivorous mammals is between 35 and 50 years old, according to National Geographic. They weigh between one to one and half tons and can grow up to 20 feet long.

SeaWorld says that there are more than 150,000 beluga whales worldwide, but face many threats, including “noise from drilling, pollution and rising water temperatures, contaminated and diminished food supply, and rising ocean temperatures.”

Fewer than 30 beluga whales, aka white whales, remain in accredited facilities in North America, added the park, which is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), helping to achieve the highest standard of welfare for animals.

“Beluga whales like Oliver and Grayson allow the scientific community to better understand beluga whales and their behavior, and will give guests the opportunity to learn about and ultimately conserve this species of whale and its natural habitat.”

Don’t bother looking for Whisper and Naluark at Wild Arctic anymore. The belugas have been moved to other facilities, according to the park’s Instagram post.

“Whisper was safely transported to the Georgia Aquarium to live with their beluga whale population, and Naluark has joined the SeaWorld San Antonio pod!” the park responded to a commenter inquiring about the whales’ whereabouts.

Judging by other comments, the newcomers seem as if they will be received well.

“Welcome to the family Grayson and Oliver,” wrote a social media user. “You’re gonna have a wonderful time there.”

“You two are adorable,” added another.

“I just love when they spit water at you,” summed up another.

Celebrity/real time news reporter Madeleine Marr has been with The Miami Herald since 2003. She has covered such features as travel, fashion and food. In 2007, she helped launch the newspaper’s daily People Page, attending red carpet events, awards ceremonies and press junkets; interviewing some of the biggest names in show business; and hosting her own online show. She is originally from New York City and has two daughters.
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