Dolphin Research Center is delighted to announce the birth of Aleta's calf! The little one arrived this afternoon at 2:22 pm to the cheers and applause of staff, volunteers and visitors.
From the moment of birth, dolphin calves are always swimming. Aleta went right into "mommy-mode", expertly guiding the baby around the lagoon. When dolphins are born, they need that guidance. They can swim right away, but their steering ability needs some work!Their dorsal fins, which provide stability in the water, are floppy when the babies are born and usually straighten in a few hours. You can see in this photograph, which was taken soon after the birth, that the dorsal isn't straight.
Periodically, Aleta also "surfed" her newborn on her chest.
Aunt Santini, who acted as Aleta's midwife, split her time between swimming with Aleta, with the baby in the middle, and entertaining the onlookers by breaching, diving, and giggling.
Soon after the baby's tail flukes appeared and everyone gathered around the lagoon, someone noticed that we weren't the only beings in the vicinity. Out in the Gulf, a pod of wild dolphins appeared and swam in the area for quite some time. One staff member remarked that, perhaps, the baby's father Kibby sent a text message.
We don't know the baby's gender and might not for quite some time. The little one won't receive a name until we know whether it's a boy or girl. It's also too soon to decide whether she looks more like her mother or her father.
Coincidentally, the newest member of the DRC family shared its birth day with its older half-sister and cousin Pandora. (Pandora's parents are Kibby and Merina, who is Aleta's half-sister.)
It's a happy day for sure!