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Meet our Beluga Whales in honor of National Whale Day

February 15, 2020
Oliver and Grayson are our beluga whales who live at Wild Arctic. In honor of National Whale Day, we learned more about these adorable guys from the team who knows them best – their Animal Care Specialists!

What better way to celebrate National Whale Day than to gush over belugas and sing their praises? (They sing better than I do, though). I've been in the zoological field for about 10 years now, most of which I've spent with SeaWorld. Of the many fantastic species I've had the privilege of working with, beluga whales have been quickly squawking and jiggling their way into “most favorite creature on the planet” territory. A flawless combination of beauty, silliness, smarts, and mischief, I'm regularly in shock all over again that I get to have belugas in my life.

Oliver and Grayson are 12-year-old half-brothers born just a few days apart in June at our San Antonio park. These boys are first-rate ambassadors to their species and I dare anyone to resist their charm. Given their relation and age, they do share some physical similarities. So, how do you know who's who? Well, first take a peek at those delightful melons (the round forehead area which, by the way, feels like a jumbo hard-boiled egg). If you spot some spots (ha!) you've found Grayson's irresistible freckles. Even though he isn't the one with “gray” in his name, Oliver boasts handsome smoky lowlights from rostrum to flukes. Gorgeous!

These lovely boys have personalities to match their good looks! They are patient, gentle, and enthusiastic. It's a joy to grow and learn new things together, which has always been one of my favorite aspects of working with animals. Grayson is like that laid-back friend who is always ready for a low-key hangout. He will make you laugh and cheer you up even on the roughest of days with his outside-the-box creativity during sessions. I'm sure he'd be more than happy to share his snacks, but raw herring, capelin, and squid might not be your thing. Oliver is the energetic workout buddy. He'd meet you in the gym at 6am ready to get in a good sweat. He's very athletic and definitely better than you at most things, but he doesn't judge. Patient, supportive, and positive. What a guy!

Working alongside beluga whales is truly a privilege and I could brag on them until sundown. I hope you'll come by and visit Grayson, Oliver, and the other amazing residents at Wild Arctic. You might just walk away with a new favorite!

Learn even more about our Wild Arctic Beluga Whales during a Beluga Whales Up-Close Tour.