It’s a boy!
Veterinarians at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium confirmed Tuesday that a Pacific white-sided dolphin born on Memorial Day is a male, and allowed media to photograph the calf for the first time. The news is exciting because only four North American aquariums house Pacific white-sided dolphins, so very few are born in captivity.
“Aquariums like Shedd have become very good at providing homes that lead to successful breeding as is evidenced by the success of our own beluga program,” said Ken Ramirez, the facility’s executive vice president of animal care and training. “The Pacific white-sided dolphin is unique … it’s a species that is not well studied or understood in the wild, so everything we learn from these animals is significant and contributes to our knowledge about this species.”
The newborn dolphin, which does not yet have a name, remained close by mother’s side for the first few days but has become increasingly independent. It now swims freely on occasion but is still nursing and has grown from 20 to about 25 pounds. The mother is named Piquet.
Ramirez told NBC on Tuesday: “The mom has done such a good job of taking care of the calf that we actually haven’t had to put our hands on the calf at all.”
The pair is not yet on public display but if all goes well that will soon change, and Shedd Aquarium will have a very cute new star attraction.
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