The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is happy to announce the successful birth of a second bottlenose dolphin. Allie, a 27-year-old bottlenose dolphin, gave birth to a female calf around 2:45 a.m. on December 16. Prior to this calf, a male bottlenose dolphin was born on December 12 to 9-year-old Allison.
Allie is an experienced mother, having raised two previous calves, and both she and her newborn have met critical milestones. These include Allie being a protective mother, successful nursing by the calf, and slipstreaming, which is when the newborn stays close to its mom’s dorsal fin, gliding as it rides on the mom’s pressure wave.
“We are thrilled with this birth, as well as with Allison’s calf,” said Rita Stacey, curator of marine mammals for the Society. “It has also been very rewarding and exciting for our marine mammal team.”
The first 30 days of a dolphin calf’s life are particularly critical. Additionally, according to Randy Wells, Ph.D., who is a leader in the field of wild dolphin research and director of the Society’s 45-year Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), the first year of life is the period when most dolphin calves are lost in the wild.
Marine mammal care staff will monitor Allie and her calf around the clock for the next month. Some of the observations and data staff will collect include the mother’s continued maternal care, the calf’s breathing and nursing rates and the amount of time the calf is slipstreaming, all of which are indicators of the health and well-being of the calf.
The Seven Seas underwater viewing exhibit is currently closed to allow the two moms time to bond with their calves. For updates, the public can visit www.CZS.org/dolphincalf.
The Chicago Zoological Society has cared for bottlenose dolphins for 54 years and opened the first inland oceanarium in the United States in 1961. The Society is committed to its dolphin program at Brookfield Zoo and to the care and conservation efforts for these marine mammals in the wild. The bottlenose dolphins at Brookfield Zoo are very important ambassadors for their wild counterparts by educating zoo guests and bringing awareness about dolphins in their natural environment and inspiring people to learn about and take action to protect these amazing marine mammals globally.
About the Chicago Zoological Society and Dolphin Research Program
The Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program in Florida is the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. The program’s primary focus involves up to five concurrent generations of bottlenose dolphins residing year-round in Sarasota Bay, Florida, where the program originated in 1970. The program—which focuses on dolphins’ health, ecology, behavior, reproductive success, and the impacts of human activities on wild populations, among other factors —has gained an international reputation for providing high-quality information of importance to worldwide dolphin conservation efforts.
The Chicago Zoological Society is by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, which is an international association representing marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, research facilities, and professional organizations dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study, and wildlife presentations.