Watch Baby Beluga Whale Move in Mother's Womb in Incredible Sonogram Video

A SeaWorld facility in Texas has announced one of its beluga whales is expecting a calf while sharing an "amazingly clear" sonogram of the fetus.

The footage was published to Facebook on Monday by SeaWorld San Antonio, showing the unborn calf's head, eye and upper body while in utero. The parent was identified as Luna, a 20-year old beluga whale which last birthed a calf in August 2016.

Park officials said they were able to obtain the sonogram thanks to husbandry training in which the animals are taught to hold still so they can be examined by vets.

The SeaWorld Facebook account wrote: "This recently allowed our veterinary team to view an amazingly clear sonogram of a beluga whale fetus in utero!

"We're very excited to share this news and will be providing around the clock care for mom Luna in anticipation of welcoming this new beluga calf to the SeaWorld family."

While the estimated date of the birth was not confirmed by the park, media outlet KSAT reported said that the typical gestation period for the species is between 14 and 15 months. SeaWorld San Antonio has been contacted for more information by Newsweek.

The SeaWorld zoo team employs husbandry training with animals as a key component of our world-class care and conservation efforts. Through this...

The San Antonio park confirmed in a media release on August 11, 2016, that Luna had successfully delivered her third calf, which weighed roughly 140 lbs and had made its entrance following approximately 30 minutes of labor. It was named Kenai.

Officials said at the time that the first weeks in the life of a dolphin or whale are critical and staff would be looking after the calf 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Chris Bellows, SeaWorld San Antonio's vice president for zoological operations, said: "We will be monitoring nursing, respirations and other vital indicators which, thus far, have been positive. Round-the-clock monitoring enables us to record data that will better help us understand beluga calf growth and development."

The calf's sire, Imaq, was previously at the Vancouver Aquarium. Luna lives at the San Antonio facility in a pod of 10, according to a SeaWorld information database.

In January last year, Georgia Aquarium confirmed its 20-year-old beluga whale, called Whisper, was expecting a calf and released footage of vets taking an ultrasound.

Park experts said at the time: "Vets found Whisper's hormone levels to be elevated, which led them to perform an ultrasound. While ultrasounds are not solely used for pregnancy—they are also used to examine organs and other internal structures—an ultrasound was the best way to further confirm Whisper's pregnancy."

Whisper arrived at the facility in February 2019 from SeaWorld Orlando alongside a then 32-year-old Imaq, who transferred from SeaWorld San Antonio and was the same whale that previously mated with Luna. They appeared to settle in well, officials said.

The World Wildlife Fund says on its website that beluga whales found in the wild would be located "primarily in areas with Arctic sea ice, with about two-thirds of the world population (of approximately 136,000 whales) summering in Canadian waters."

The species is listed as being in a "near threatened" status, with challenges identified as climate change and noise pollution that can impact their ability to communicate.

SeaWorld San Antonio Beluga Whale Fetus
A sonogram of a beluga whale published to Facebook by SeaWorld San Antonio on Monday, January 11, 2021. SeaWorld San Antonio/Facebook/Screenshot