The Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium in Aichi Prefecture celebrated its first killer whale birth on Tuesday. 26 year old Stella gave birth to a female calf measuring around 2 meters (6.5 feet) long and weighing between 160 and 180 kilograms (353 to 397 pounds). Aquarium officials say the whale began showing signs of labor on November 12th, which included a decreased temperature, and her water broke the next morning at 8:40 AM with the calf born less than two hours later.
Both Stella and the calf are said to be doing well, and the baby appears to be healthy and swimming next to her mother. Animal keepers say this is actually the fifth birth for Stella, the most for a killer whale in captivity in Japan. The exhibit for the killer whales is currently closed and the aquarium says it will remain that way until they’re sure Stella and the calf are stable. Visitors, however, will get to see live feeds of the whales, including Stella’s mate, 30 year old Bingo, projected on a large screen several times a day.
The two mates and one of their earlier offspring, 6 year old female Ran, were moved to Nagoya in December of last year. They are on loan from Kamogawa Seaworld in Chiba Prefecture, and will stay at the Nagoya aquarium until March of 2017. The whale family has significantly increased the number of visitors to the aquarium, with officials seeing a 13% increase over the year before and a prediction of at least 2 million total for the year.