A Bouncing Baby Beluga

Nala, beluga calf at the Vancouver Aquarium
Nala says Hello.
(cc) abdallahh

In a national contest, the Vancouver Aquarium received over three thousand qualifying entries from across Canada for the name of their newest beluga calf, born on June 7, 2009. A judging panel narrowed the selection down to a Top 5 list consisting of Kuvi, Nala, Nalli, Sila, and Uumamarik. Aquarium members then made the final selection. The chosen name: Nala, short for Nalautsaagaq in the Inuit language of Inuktitut.

The name Nala was submitted by the Joyce family of Burnaby who visited the Vancouver Aquarium shortly after Nala arrived in the world. Dad Dave, mom Katie and eight-year-old son Devin, were astounded and pleased when they found out live the morning of December 2 that their submission was the final name chosen for the calf. Katie Joyce said, “We chose the name because Nala is a surprise gift for everyone who visits the Vancouver Aquarium to be able to see and learn about these amazing animals.” The Joyce family will receive the Grand Prize of a one of a kind Beluga encounter hosted by the Aquarium’s marine mammal team, an annual family membership, and a $200.00 gift certificate from the Gift Shop.

During the contest period which ran for three weeks in November, thousands of people from across the country submitted their naming suggestions. Entrants were asked to submit names from the Inuit language of Inuktitut, and had the opportunity to learn more about Inuit language online on the Aquarium’s website, as well as about Inuit culture and the fascinating region of Canada’s Arctic. A panel of judges selected the Top 5 names and the shortlist went to Aquarium members to make the final selection.

The Vancouver Aquarium is a global leader in connecting people to our natural world, and a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, conservation practices, education, research, and direct action.