About Ferdi (en) - Ferdinand

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About Ferdi (en)


After his unsuccessful attempts to catch the stray White Whale in the River (Germany) in 1966 the former director of the Zoo Duisburg, Dr. Wolfgang Gewalt, took the decision to catch his own Beluga Whales directly in the Arctic. He started his own expedition in 1969 in the Canadian Hudson Bay and came back with two captured Beluga Whales.     
Unfortunately: they found that the male captured Beluga Moby was a female along with Allua. Still a male was missing to complete the group in the Zoo. In the middle of July 1975 started therefore again an expedition to the Hudson Bay,as well under the direction of Dr. Gewalt, in order to catch the Beluga bull Ferdinand. The name Ferdinand was already sure for that bull because the expedition was financially supported through the Ferdinand Lentjes Donation.     
At this season the biggest part of the place (near the estuary of the Churchill river to the Hudson Bay) where they wanted to catch the whale was already frozen . After some whales were captured for an aquarium in New York they captured on 26th July, at 6 p.m., a beluga male. Ferdinand!     
In a self made box he "traveled" by Air Canada to the Airport Frankfurt and with a refrigerated truck, with over 30° C outside temperature, at the 31st of July to the Zoo Duisburg. There he was heaved with help of a 40 ton crane of the fire-brigade in the "Walarium" (the Beluga Tank) to the waiting Beluga Ladies.
(Source: Auf den Spuren der Wale; Dr. W. Gewalt)
Since 1978 the 3 Belugas had society of Commerson's Dolphins, which were also captured in two expeditions of Dr. Gewalt. Unfortunately those lively Dolphins died except Jogy. In 1984 Allua died and 1999 Moby followed, so there were in the Duisburg Walarium only the aged Jogy and Ferdinand.     
The zoo decided that the both should have their retirement home in Sea World California (SWC), San Diego, with homogeneous companions. After much paperwork (see e.g. Federal Register, 2nd Site) they flew in company with a Sea World crew, some of their keepers from Duisburg, the veterinarian from the Zoo Duisburg and also the zoo director at the 11th of September 2004 in a cargo machine from Duesseldorf to San Diego.     
For some days Ferdinand and Jogy were still together in one tank before they were finally seperated. To Jogy came some female Commerson's dolphins and Ferdi moved to the Wild Arctic Habitat to the Beluga ladies Ruby, MukTuk as well as to the male Nanuq.
Habituation to the two females was relatively problem free, but, as expected, there were some scraps and wounds as Ferdi met the first time Nanuq. The Rhine Ruhr newspaper later called their arcticle "Ferdinand amongst in the jealousy drama".
Due to the fact that Nanuq has the better teeth Ferdi had unfortunately the disadvantage.     
News from California said that they became in the meanwhile friends. But after all Nanuq moved to SeaWorld Texas to join the 7 Beluga females there.     
By the way Ruby and MukTuk from Sea World California are from the American Navy and for a breeding loan at Sea World California. Nanuq belongs to the Vancouver Aqurium and has there already a daughter (Qila, 1995) and in the meantime a Granddaugther.     
MukTuk (a designation for whale skin/whale meat and for the Inuits a delicacy...) made the deepest recorded dive for a captive marine mammal in her activy navy time. ( 2165 feet (appr. 660 m)).     
In July 2005 the Beluga Female Allua from the Vancouver Aquarium moved also to SWC.

In the beginning of 2007 MukTuk died because of her age. In the beginning of 2008 Nanuq came back from SW Texas.

In June 2014 Ruby and Nanuq became parents! Ruby gave birth to Belugagirl Pearl. Unfortunately Ruby wasn't a good Mum and therefore Pearl was raised with the bottle. Allua was the good "Aunt" in this time.

In June 2014 Nanuq moved to Sea World Orlando and the 12year old Klondike and 4year old Atla , Pearls Halfsister, same age, came to the Wild Arctic, Sea World San Diego.

Ruby died 3rd of July 2014.

So there are actual 2,3 Belugas (2 Male, 3 Females) at SWC.
(Stand: February 2016)

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