Monday, November 14, 2005

New dolphin calf at Chicago zoo

Late in the afternoon on Nov. 3, Atlantic bottlenose dolphin Tapeko, 23, gave birth at the zoo to a healthy 30- to 35-pound, 3-foot-long female calf, a news release from the zoo said Friday.
"We are cautiously optimistic," zoo marine mammal curator Melinda Pruett-Jones said in the release.

While dolphin births are not considered successful until the calf is at least a year old, Pruett-Jones said the newborn has exhibited several behaviors considered positive, including regularly nursing following the birth.

For about two weeks, zoo staff will observe the newborn calf and mother around the clock, according to the release.

As the first year is critical to a newborn dolphin, the zoo staff will likely wait a month or two before naming the calf, zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen said.

The newborn is Tapeko's third child and the first for the father, Hastings, according to Katzen.
In addition to the newborn, Tapeko's other family members include daughters Kaylee, 12, and Noelani, 2, and grandson, Micco, 4, all at Brookfield Zoo, she said.

Tapeko and her newborn will be available for public viewing at the zoo's Seven Seas underwater gallery beginning Saturday, the release stated.

Quick "Facts about Dolphins"