Friday, February 27, 2015


Breaking News: GOGO – Give One, Get One for Summer!

A little more than a month ago, Dolphin Research Center welcomed Summer – a rescued, rehabilitated baby Atlantic spotted dolphin – to our facility as her permanent home.  As a nonprofit education and research facility, we rely on our members, donors and guests to help us provide the finest care for Summer and all of our flippered family members.

The costs involved have been high to provide for Summer, including her transport and the 24 hour care she has received since her arrival.  Knowing of our need for support, a long time DRC friend has created a challenge match.  She has pledged to match your donations to Summer’s care dollar for dollar up to $10,000 from now to the end of March.  Your donation, no matter how large or small will be doubled!

Any donation of $100 or more given by March 8th will receive a free silver Summer tail fluke charm – before these are available for public sale.

Your 100% tax-deductible contribution supports our mission and helps provide Summer with the highest quality care and a safe, happy, healthy forever home.  Please help us help her.  Click here to visit the DRC website and donate today.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Welcome Calusa's Baby!

Welcome to the world!

At approximately 2:04 a.m. eastern time this morning, Calusa delivered her calf. We're delighted to say that the baby is doing well, swimming around in its mother's slipstream.  Calusa handled the birth in stride and has already done a drive-by feeding.  As you can imagine, it's an exciting time with this baby coming so soon after the birth of its cousin, Pandora's calf.  We know you join us in this excitement and hope, as do we all, that the baby thrives.  Its gender isn't known, so we haven't selected a name.  If you have any suggestions, please let us know. Welcome to the family, little one!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Welcome Pandora's Baby!

Welcome New Baby!

The Dolphin Research Center family is delighted to announce the birth of Pandora's calf.  The little one arrived at 6:47 a.m. on Saturday, February 21st.  An experienced mother, Pandora showed her new bundle of flipper joy how to chin-slap breathe.  For this, the baby brings its entire head up which ensures that the blow hole is out of the water. The calf is strongly swimming around in its mom's slipstream.

The father is a male at SeaWorld named Pacino.

Pandora is eating well, taking in more pounds of fish per day than with her regular diet.  The baby will nurse about every 20 minutes, so Pandora needs those extra calories in order to produce rich milk.

We don't know the gender yet and won't name the calf until we can confirm whether it is male or female.  This also gives us some time to see a little more of its "dolphinality" develop.  We know that you join us in hoping that the calf grows and thrives.  We'll keep you posted on its progress.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Foam Mat Party

Rainbow loves to play with his foam mat, so DRC trainers wanted to see if other dolphins did too!

The front lagoon is abuzz with play and laughter, both from dolphins and humans. We love enrichment sessions and always keep the dolphins guessing by adding something new whenever possible. This can be as simple as doing an adlib session, where we ask the dolphins to do whatever theychoose.  We might let a dock float around the lagoon as the kids push it, or try something entirely different. The most recent thing some of the dolphins have been introduced to is a foam mat, which they are still trying to figure out. 

Rainbow and Sandy have always loved to play on one of these mats, but it’s been a bit hard for some of the dolphins to understand. It floats over the water, but isn’t stable like a dock. When they jump onto it, it dips under the water. All of the dolphins have tried different ways of interacting with the mat. The kids like when a trainer is in the water and they can push it around like a raft. Gypsi and Cayo have taken to diving over it. Others still watch from a distance while their friends play.
The one who is best at figuring out the mat is Santini. DRC’s resident teacher’s pet, it makes sense that her trainers can ask her to watch them slide onto it then give her the signal to imitate. She usually starts by lifting her body out of the water then crashing down on it. When she stabilizes and floats on the mat, she and everyone around gets really excited! After all, it’s an entirely new toy that none of the dolphins in the front lagoon have played with before.

Whenever Santini sees that giant foam mat, she gets super excited to try to perfect her surfing skills! She’s even passed her enthusiasm onto a few other dolphins who also try to put part of their bodies on the mat. Even though the dolphins have only played with it a few times, they love the challenge and are eagerly trying to master how to use the interesting floating device.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Diamond Joins the Sea Lion Habitat

It's very exciting to see Diamond, Karen, Kilo, and Lina out on the habitat together.

In October we welcomed a new member to the family, Diamond the sea lion. She came here because we felt our young sea lion Lina needed a friend closer to her own age. Diamond’s first home was up in the sea lion house, where she got to know her trainers and meet her new roomies. The first sea lion she met was Kilo, who welcomed another girl to his group with open flippers, followed by Karen who enjoyed a few cuddles with her. Lastly, little Lina met her new friend and was thrilled to have rambunctious girl in the mix. 

Very social and curious, Diamond became fast friends with all three new roommates. Then, it was time for her to take a big step and join the others in the habitat. As word got around the facility that it was Diamond’s big day, a large group of staff and volunteers lined the fence to watch her boldly go where she had never gone before. 

Each sea lion partnered with his or her own trainer for the session. Kilo and Karen showed off their signature behaviors, while Lina worked with her trainer inside the house. Trainers Loriel and Linda both worked with Diamond to see if she wanted to go down the ramp and make her way out of the house and into the habitat. A few times, she went halfway but then got a little nervous and ran back up inside. The trainers then tried to have her exit from the other side and down the stairs. Again, she came close but wasn’t able to go the entire distance. Moving somewhere new can be scary. Always putting the animals first, we wanted to make sure she made the move on her own terms.

After a small break, the trainers decided to take a different route. The trainers asked Kilo to come into the house and then led him and Diamond through the front door. That decision was gold! Diamond walked alongside Kilo with no hesitation. It turns out; she just needed a friend to hold her flipper.
As she splashed into the giant sea lion lagoon, all of the staff, volunteers, and guests who had assembled to see what was going on, were overjoyed by seeing Diamond play with her friends in the habitat. Kilo barked his excitement. Karen swam around with Diamond by her side. Lina hopped up on the dock and gave her new friend a nose-to-nose kiss. A visitor who was here with her family stopped to see what was going on and was excited to be a part of this joyous day. As a member of DRC, she had read about Diamond’s arrival via our E-Newsletter. What luck they had to visit right at that moment. Of course, we thanked them for being members and helping support DRC’s mission.
We are so excited to walk by the sea lion habitat and see little Diamond out there with the rest of our flippered family members. She is small and looks a lot like Lina. However, the easiest way to tell them apart is by the color of their fur. Lina has a golden tint to her coloring while Diamond is more silver and literally shines like a diamond. She is a great addition to the DRC family and we can’t wait to share more stories about her adventures with Karen, Kilo and Lina!

*This story is from several months ago, but we wanted to share it with our supporters who were not able to be here while Diamond made her way into the sea lion habitat.*

Friday, February 6, 2015

Louie's Anniversary

Louie celebrates his fourth anniversary at DRC.
Louie joined the DRC family on February 6, 2011. He was the first live dolphin, covered with oil, rescued from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Louisiana in September of 2010. This little fighter was given just a 5% chance of survival when rescued by the Louisiana Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue. Thanks to their tremendous dedication and round the clock care, Louie recovered and was ready to make the move to his “forever home” here at Dolphin Research Center. Louie is a sweet natured dolphin who gets along with everyone. His laid back dolphinality, allows him to fit in perfectly with all his family at DRC. Louie loves to sit straight up at the dock and always gives a 110% during his sessions. He gets excited to hear trainer’s whistles after a behaviors, races back to the dock and pops up out of the water so far you can often see the middle of his stomach! Louie is a BIG fan of playtime. You can often see him carrying various toys around the lagoon on his rostrum or flippers. Happy Anniversary, Louie! We love you.

If you would like to adopt Louie or buy him a bucket of fish for his birthday, please go to the Dolphin Research Center website.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Sibling Love Between Pandora and Flagler

Pandora's silly nature often rubs off on her younger siblings.

When you were growing up, did you want to be just like your older sibling? If she’s anything like Pandora, then you definitely would want to! Flagler showed us how cool he thinks his big sister is during a play time session. 

Catherine, one of our trainers, was very excited to come down on the dock and play with these two awesome siblings. Pandora, who is independent and free spirited, kept rolling over on her back and presenting her belly to Catherine so that she could give it a light push. What happens when you give the dolphins belly a little poke? They blow bubbles! At least, they do in the game we play here at DRC.

Flagler has not quite learned this game but once he saw his older sister do it, he obsessed over bubbles the remainder of the session. He would go under the water and blow bubbles over and over again. Regardless if he was asked to sit and wait or go off for another behavior, he would somehow find a way to incorporate bubble blowing. He was having a blast!

The cutest part happened near the end of the session. Pandora could tell her little brother was excited to play the game, even if he didn’t know how. So she helped him out. Pandora rolled over once more and waited for Catherine to give her one last poke. However, instead of blowing bubbles herself she let her little brother blow them for her. He went underneath Pandora and did his scuba diver impression. It was beyond adorable!

At the end of the session, you could tell this was a great bonding experience for Pandora and Flagler. Although they live together, they seldom share a dock. It was great to see how much adoration they have for one another.