Dolphin born at Brookfield Zoo
Friday, November 11, 2005
Brookfield Zoo today introduced one of its newest residents, a female baby dolphin born in the zoo's Seven Seas exhibit earlier this month.
The as-yet unnamed calf was born after about three hours of active labor Nov. 3 to Tapeko, a 23-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, officials said. DNA tests confirmed the father is Hastings, another resident dolphin at the west-suburban zoo.
The baby dolphin is 3 feet long, weighs about 30 to 35 pounds and appears healthy and strong, officials said. A zoo spokeswoman said it probably would be several months before a name is chosen for the newborn.
Its birth followed by about a month the loss of a dolphin fetus that had been carried by Kaylee, a 12-year-old Brookfield Zoo dolphin who coincidentally is Tapeko's daughter.
Tapeko's pregnancy was confirmed in January and closely monitored by the zoo's veterinary staff, officials said. Routine ultrasound exams were conducted with the dolphin's cooperation during the 12-month gestation.
Officials said they suspected Tapeko would soon deliver when she refused food the morning of Nov. 3. The baby was born late that afternoon.
Following the birth, observers saw "several positive behaviors," including the calf resting in the "slip stream," or wake, of its mother's dorsal fin, staying close to its mother's body as they swam together and nursing regularly, officials said.
Round-the-clock observations will continue for another two weeks, officials said. In the coming year, staffers will watch for such positive signs as growth spurts, the moment the baby starts eating fish and the time it becomes weaned and independent from its mother.