Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Merina & Calf!

Nothing like video of a cute baby, its mom and other dolphins to bring a smile to the day! Check out the footage of Merina and her calf. Tursi and her little one, as well as Theresa, also appear. For those who wonder what's happening when a mom pushes the baby around with her rostrum, that's one of the ways that moms "surf" their calves. It's a form of play and bonding. It can also be used as discipline if the little one is wandering off or getting into trouble. :-)
So sweet! We hope you enjoy it.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Video of Tursi and Calf

We know you love seeing the dolphins as much as we do, but not all of you have the chance to visit them in person right now. This footage of Tursi and her baby was filmed over the last week or so. We hope you enjoy watching them swim and play!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sad News

Dolphin Research Center is deeply sorry to share the news that Calusa's calf died early this afternoon. In observing him since his birth last Saturday, we recognized that he was not thriving the way that he should in his first days. DRC's Animal Care Committee was looking at ways to intervene and supplement, but the baby's condition rapidly deteriorated.

Calusa was proving herself an excellent mom and did all that she could to nurture the baby. Unfortunately, in every animal species, the youngest are the most delicate. There is an even higher mortality risk for a female's first calf. Sadly, not all who are born survive.

All of us in the DRC family appreciate your concern and support.

Thank you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Baby Boom - Merina's Calf Arrives!

Merina's calf surfaces for a quick breath!

Only a couple days after the birth of Calusa's calf, Merina delivered her new, adorable baby on November 15th.

Judging from Merina's behavior and signs of labor contractions, we knew yesterday that it wouldn't be long. Although she held off until after dark, when Medical Director Pat Clough visited Merina's lagoon around 8:45 last night, the flippered bundle of joy was swimming alongside mom.

Merina is an experienced mother, having previously delivered and raised Pandora, Calusa and Cayo. This newborn calf is a cute addition to a lovely family.

It will be some time before we can announce the name of the baby's father. Conceived by artificial insemination, two males from other facilities are candidates. DNA testing in the future will determine which male is the baby daddy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

DRC Welcomes New Baby!

Look at the sweet face of Tursi's new calf!

The entire Dolphin Research Center family is delighted to announce the arrival of Tursi's baby on the evening of Friday, November 5th at 6:06 p.m. The little one is swimming strong around the lagoon with its beautiful mom.

For a few days, Tursi's behavior indicated that her time was drawing closer. Earlier today, she refused her fish meals and only ate gelatin treats that we offered. A member of the Animal Care and Training staff monitored her throughout the day. As time progressed, she hunched more frequently and exhibited contraction behavior.

At 5:16 p.m., the baby's tail flukes appeared and from that point on, the delivery quickly proceeded. Less than an hour later, after a good, long dive, up popped Tursi with the calf for a first breath!

As you know, Tursi is a very experienced, super, mom. From the moment she gave birth, she expertly steered her little one safely around the lagoon. The calf quickly caught on to the chin-slap breathing action that's common to all newborn dolphins. In order to make sure that the blowhole clears the surface, the baby brings its entire head up, so it's chin naturally slaps on the water on the way down.

Before another hour passed, Tursi had already cruised by the dock and accepted some juicy herring from the trainers. She'll take in lots of calories to produce rich milk for the newborn.

We won't know for some time whether the calf is a boy or a girl. Whatever its gender, the baby has a lot of ties in the DRC family. Its half-siblings are brothers Talon and Pax and sister Gypsi on Tursi's side. Kibby is the proud father, which means that Pandora and Delta are also half-siblings.

Welcome to the family, little one. Congratulations, Tursi and Kibby.