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Georgia Aquarium belugas might be on display today

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Beethoven (front) and Maris, swimming inside Georgia Aquarium's Cold Water Quest exhibit this week. Returning is Maris, a 15-year-old female, and newcomer Beethoven, an 18-year-old male. They've been at Sea World San Antonio while renovations were done on their habitat in Atlanta. AJC/John Spink

Belugas are back!

Atlanta hasn’t seen them since last October, when female Maris, her mother, Natasha, and Nico, a male, were moved from Georgia Aquarium to Sea World San Antonio while construction was going on in their habitat. Nico died in San Antonio — the cause remains unspecified –  and Natasha will remain there because of a potential mate. Maris and her new pal, Beethoven, are back in Atlanta. Eleven-foot-long, 900-pound Maris and 13-foot, 1,740-pound Beethoven could, indeed, be a mating pair. Here are more photos of the beluga pair at Georgia Aquarium.

There are only 36 belugas on in captivity in North America. If Georgia Aquarium’s pair are responding well to their space, they could go on display to the public today. AJCer Howard Pousner reported that Georgia Aquarium intends to start an encounter program with the belugas, too, in which a small number of guests would have the opportunity to interact with them. (Howard’s story also explains some of the beluga history at Georgia Aquarium. It’s a good read.)

Want to go? Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. N.W. Atlanta. $26-$35. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.  404-581-4000, www.georgiaaquarium.org.

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2 comments Add your comment

Jamie Gumbrecht

February 24th, 2010
8:45 pm

Hi Kim! I got that number from my colleague, who got it from the Georgia Aquarium. I’ll check it out.

Kim

February 24th, 2010
8:35 pm

The note that there are only 36 belugas in captivity in N. America is incorrect. Marineland in Ontario, Canada, alone has 36 of them on exhibit.