Beluga infant at Georgia Aquarium is named

The beluga infant born at the Georgia Aquarium May 17 has been given a name.

She’s a female and her name is Shila, which means “flame” in the Inuit language.

According to the aquarium’s web site, Shila weighed 174 pounds at birth and is five feet four inches in length. She was born to 20-year-old mother Whisper.

“Whisper had a long labor, but with assistance from the Aquarium’s animal care and health teams she delivered her calf.,” the web site reported. “Both Whisper and her calf are getting much needed rest and time to bond.”

An Animal Planet special about the birth of Shila aired May 30, and can be viewed here.

Few beluga calves are born in captivity, and the aquarium tragically lost two in 2012 and 2015. Another was stillborn in 2017.

After a months-long shutdown due to the pandemic, the aquarium is preparing to reopen to visitors. Members will be admitted Saturday, June 13, and the general public will be admitted Monday, June 15.

The aquarium will practice new, higher levels of sanitation to avoid contagion, cleaning the facility several times each day in between time periods when visitors are allowed.

It will also limit the number of guests allowed inside the facility at any given time to 818, and guests will buy tickets for discrete time blocks.

Aquarium officials said the attraction is adopting new protocols “to ensure the aquarium is operating in accordance with the advice of the state and federal governments and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).”