Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

From the Dolphin Research Center family to yours -
Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays!

Like Mother, Like Daughter

A few weeks ago, Pandora moved back into the front lagoon with her daughter, Luna, and we’ve seen them hang out quite a bit. The two of them, since they are mother and daughter, are identified by pink zinc oxide on their dorsal fins. Pandora has a dot and Luna has a stripe. Luna seems to be becoming more and more like her mother every day.

Pandora is known for her love of target poles. The girl will seriously tuck one under her flipper and carry it around for days! Turns out, Luna has realized the fun in her momma’s game because one day when Pandora wasn’t guarding her precious pole, little Luna managed to sweep in and get it all to herself. When we realized that Luna had swiped her mama’s favorite toy, we couldn’t help but giggle. Half of the time, we can’t get Pandora’s target pole away from her so it’s awesome her little girl could! 

As a fun loving young lady, Luna wasn’t happy just carrying the target pole around like a dolphin accessory. Instead, she had a blast diving deep down into the lagoon with it and then letting it pop back up! Throughout the day, we’d see an object fly out of the water with a sweet little dolphin eagerly after it. Pandora watches but doesn’t dare take away her daughter’s new favorite toy. To make it fair, one of the trainers usually goes onto the dock and throws another one out for Pandora.

Miss Pandora has a very unique dolphinality and it’s great to see her little girl follow in her fluke prints. The two enjoy their time together and also go off on their own with their “friends” in the lagoon. When they decide it’s time for mother and daughter time, Luna and Pandora happily swim along together.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Aleta

Happy Birthday to Aleta, who turns 29 today. This beautiful lady knows she's a star and is never camera shy. Since giving birth to her little girl last month, Aleta has been enjoying the extra attention given to her by our photographers. Aleta is extremely creative and pushes her trainers to do things "the Aleta way". She loves getting to know new people and creating deep, meaningful relationships.

Happy Birthday Aleta. We love you!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

New Games

For the first several years of a dolphin’s life, they live in a maternity pod where they learn all of their behaviors from their mothers and peers. Whether it’s where to get food or ways to entertain yourself, a lot of what makes a dolphin a dolphin is created at the start of their lives. At Dolphin Research Center, we are able to watch our family members from the first day of birth as they come into their own and create their unique dolphinality. Like humans, some dolphins learn more quickly than others. Some become independent at a very young age while others stick with their mother years longer than the rest of the pod.

Tursi is famous for keeping her calves longer than the other dolphins. Her youngest, Gambit, is currently three years old and still nurses in addition to eating some fish. The two of them do a lot of sessions together and when they are at separate docks, Tursi comes over several times to check in on her little boy. She’s notorious for taking a guest on a dorsal pull to the other side of the lagoon just, to make sure Gambit is being a good little boy.

Since momma Tursi runs the show, we let her decide when she thinks it’s time for Gambit to learn new games and play with new objects. Right now, he is learning to adlib, when we push the coolers back and ask the dolphins to do anything they choose. It’s a great game and shows us what behaviors the dolphins enjoy most. It also allows them to be creative and come up with ideas we never even thought to ask!

The funny part about Gambit learning to adlib is that he repeats everything his mom does. If Tursi waves, Gambit waves. If Tursi does a cartwheel, he does a cartwheel. It’s hilarious to see him copy her.

As Gambit gets a better handle on the concept of adlibbing, he’ll begin to make up his own mind as to what he likes to do. Soon, he’ll be ahead of his mom when we push back the coolers. Until then, we will continue to enjoy whatever he decides.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DRC Adoption Gifts

Are you running out of time to get a gift for a loved one this holiday season? How about giving them a dolphin or sea lion!  Dolphin Research Center is offering gift adoption E-cards for marine mammal lovers.  You decide the adoption amount, either $50, $100, or $240, and your recipient chooses which of the dolphins or sea lions in the DRC family to adopt. Gift adoptions include a full color certificate and photograph, animal biography, free admission passes with complimentary guest admissions, access to the Members Only Section of the DRC website, 10% Gift Shop discount on most items, and newsletters. In the spirit of the holidays, your marine mammal enthusiast will also receive a photo magnet of their adopted dolphin or sea lion.  Gift adoptions can be made online at the DRC website, www.dolphins.org. 

For more information, call the Membership Department at 305-289-1121, ext. 229.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy Birthday Cayo

Happy Birthday to the beautiful Miss Cayo who turns seven today. Cayo is a free spirited dolphin who loves to help out in special needs swims and people watch. You can usually find Cayo, and her best friend Gypsi, along the sea wall by the front lagoon observing guests. Cayo loves to have kisses blown at her and will often blow a kiss back by making a smooching sound.

Happy Birthday Cayo. We love you beautiful!

Thursday, December 12, 2013


The dolphins love to show off different behaviors. A lot of times they add extra oomph to whatever they’re asked to do. This can include Tursi’s signature scream at the height of her aerials or holding an object on a flipper like we often see with Pandora and Calusa. However, there is one behavior that the dolphins have recently shown off that makes us giggle so much that we have to ask them for it over and over again. It’s called a shalligator!

As you know, dolphins are mammals so they move their tail up and down when they swim. To demonstrate the difference between a mammal and a fish we often ask the dolphins to show the crowd a shark behavior. As they swim away from the dock, they move their tail side to side to propel through the water.

The shark behavior is considered an imitation, as is their alligator impression where they chomp their mouths up and down very quickly. Sometimes the trainers get silly on the colder days, and to us anything below 85 is a little chilly, so they use the alligator  behavior to say the dolphins are shivering.

However, thanks to the intelligence of all of the resident dolphins, they’ve been able to show off their shalligator! This behavior is a combination of both the shark and alligator impressions and results in a chomping side to side swimming machine. Santini, the DRC teacher’s pet, was one of the first dolphins to show this off and the rest have caught on.

At DRC, we follow trends and eagerly jump on the dolphin band wagon whenever any of our wonderful family members does something we love. However, the shalligator may be up there with some of the best behaviors. Not only is this a great one to watch, but it’s also super fun to say!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Rub Rope

We always try to make the dolphins happier, even in if the way sometimes seems odd. Recently we noticed that a few of the dolphins have itchy backs, so we created a “rub rope” in the front lagoon to help the boys and girls scratch themselves. The rope is actually an old fireman’s hose material, which the dolphins can glide on very easily without leaving any marks or scratches on their skin.

It’s interesting to see how each dolphin interacts with the rub rope. For the first week, all of the dolphins in the front inspected it thoroughly, but did not actually make any moves on it. It seemed they wanted to figure out what exactly it was first. We want the dolphins to understand why we give them objects so instead of just putting the hose in the lagoon and waiting for them to figure it out, one of the trainers, Kelly Jayne, got in the water and demonstrated. .

Envision a dolphin trainer treading water, and rubbing herself up and down a long rope while curious dolphins observe. Yes, it was as hilarious as you’re imagining. Some of the guests, and possibly dolphins, might have thought Kelly Jayne was a little crazy but it was all in good nature and the dolphins got the hint.

Before you knew it, Delta and Louie rubbed themselves all over the rope. Delta likes to scratch the top of his body while Louie enjoys a rub on his peduncle. Other dolphins, like Gypsi, Cayo, Santini, and Reese, were a little shyer and did several drive bys a day to inspect it and watch their buddies.  After a while, Gypsi and Cayo began to use it, too.

The idea of a rub rope, or a trainer shimmying on it to show the dolphins what it’s used for, may seem a little different but that’s what makes it so fun here at DRC! We love to give the dolphins new experiences and do whatever we can to make their lives better.  Not only does it help us learn more about our awesome family members, but we’re also able to share new stories with all of you.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dolphin Wish List

The dolphins got together and decided on some toys they'd like for the holidays!
Check out the New Toy Wish List on our website.
Please include your name so we can tell the dolphins who gave them their wonderful present.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Reese Turns One

Happy Birthday to Reese who turns one year old today! This awesome little dude is extremely independent and loves to play with all the other dolphins in his lagoon. Son of Santini, he's incredibly smart and loves taking part in Dolphin Encounters. His favorite part are the back rubs.

Not only is it his birthday, but it's the first day he becomes adoptable! If you'd like to adopt Reese please check out our website.

Happy Birthday Reese. We love you little guy!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

It's a Girl!

We are thrilled to announce that both Aleta and Merina's babies are girls!
Congrats to the new momma's.
If you'd like to suggest a name, please do so in the comment section or on Facebook.