Dolphin born at Shedd Aquarium

May 29, 2012 11:15:58 AM PDT
A Pacific white-sided dolphin was born on Memorial Day at Shedd Aquarium. Both the calf and its mother, Piquet, appear to be well.

The baby dolphin, whose sex has not been determined, swam to the surface, took its first breath and swam with its mother immediately after its birth at 10:34 p.m. on Monday, May 28, 2012. The animals are under 24 hour surveillance by Shedd's staff.

The calf is about 3 feet long and 25 pounds, according to aquarium staff.

"We are thrilled about the birth; however, a calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months. We know that female Pacific white-sided dolphins in the wild and in aquariums and zoos commonly lose their first calf during pregnancy or during their first year of life," said Ken Ramirez, Shedd's Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Training.

Shedd officials say the calf must bond with Piquet, learn to nurse and eventually feed itself. This is 24-year-old Piquet's first calf. The father is a dolphin at Miami's Seaquarium, which, along with Shedd, is part of the breeding program. Fewer than 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins live in North American facilities.

Piquet and her baby will not be on display until they have reached those milestones. However, most of the Abbott Oceanarium remains open to the public. sheddaquarium.org


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