The 25-year-old Naluark arrived at Mystic Aquarium's Arctic Coast (www.mysticaquarium.org ), one of the largest outdoor beluga exhibits in the U.S., this week. He's mingling with two female belugas there -- Naku and Kela, according to a release from the aquarium.
His search for love was long and meticulous, requiring a team of vets, two truck transfers and a flight on a chartered plane. Naluark spent the entire time in a hammock inside a temperature controlled container that was filled with water. A "meticulous," but necessary journey to increase genetic diversity in the beluga population, according to the Shedd ( sheddaquarium.org/).
"Shedd is committed to working with other zoos and aquariums to further breeding, conservation and research efforts with the animals we care for," said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training at Shedd Aquarium, in the release.
Shedd officials said Naluark may not breed with either of the females, but may create enough competition for another male beluga, Juno, to get interested in doing so. Breeding season for belugas is generally March to May. It's not clear how long Naluark will be out on loan -- that all depends on how quickly he woos one of the females, or how quickly Juno gets jealous.
Neither Naku nor Kela have mothered a calf before.