Staff at the Vancouver Aquarium are excitedly preparing for the birth of another bouncing baby beluga whale after announcing Thursday that Aurora is pregnant.

The 20-year-old whale, whose oldest calf Qila was the first beluga conceived and born in a Canadian aquarium, is due in June or July.

It will be her third baby.

Brian Sheehan, curator of marine mammals at the aquarium, said staff learned Aurora was expecting last spring but kept mum on the pregnancy for the same reasons people do.

“There are a lot of things that can happen,” Sheehan said. “As we enter the third trimester, it’s a safer period of time.

“It’s exciting, but what makes it even more exiting is we’ll be able to have two calves together and see how they interact with each other … and communicate. Plus it’ll be cute.”

Sheehan said staff aren’t as concerned about Aurora’s abilities to look after her calf as they were when Qila gave birth to seventh-month-old Tiqa, who Aurora looked after when Qila appeared unsure how to behave.

He added it’s also helpful for staff that Tiqa was born so recently because they’ll be more familiar with the protocol.

“There’s a learning curve for people who haven’t been around something like that,” Sheehan said. “What’s normal? What should you or shouldn’t you be concerned about? They’ll be going into this birth being able to watch a bit closer.”

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