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Brookfield Zoo Perform Bottlenose Dolphin Swap

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: March 27, 2022 12:01 am

Dolphin Swap Brookfield Zoo

Kai, a 27-year-old bottlenose dolphin, is back home at Brookfield Zoo. He had previously spent the last 16 years at Texas State Aquarium.

Photo Credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo and the Texas State Aquarium have worked together on a dolphin swap. On March 21st 2022 Brookfield welcomed back Kai, a 27 year old bottlenose dolphin who has spent the last 16 years at the Texas State Aquarium.

The team from Texas returned to their home with Merlin, an 8-year-old bottlenose dolphin born at the zoo in 2013, who will now make Texas his new home.

Merlin and Kai were accompanied on their respective journeys by veterinary and animal care staff from Brookfield Zoo and Texas State Aquarium, who monitored the animals during the flights between Chicago and Corpus Christi.

Kai was born at Brookfield Zoo in October 1994 and was the second dolphin born there. At present he is the oldest surviving dolphin to be born at the zoo. He may remember dolphins from his past such as Lucky, Tapeko, Allie, Noelani, and Allison.

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The decision to move Merlin out of the maternal group at Brookfield Zoo is based on knowledge known about these marine mammals in the wild. “We know that juvenile dolphins, especially young males, leave their maternal group to spend increasingly more time with other animals their age, which is a normal milestone in a dolphin’s life,” said Rita Stacey, vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo.

“Merlin will join the group of dolphins at Texas State Aquarium and will be paired with another male dolphin named Schooner, who is just a few years older and has a similar playful personality.”

Staff from Brookfield Zoo and the Texas State Aquarium swapped places before the move to ensure they were familiar with the dolphins. Additional welfare monitoring is also being undertaken on the dolphins to ensure they adjust to their new homes.

This monitoring includes welfare indicators such as endocrine biomarkers, behavioral observations, CZS’s WelfareTrak® surveys, body condition scores, and more.

Kai will undertake introductions with the rest of the dolphins before he goes on display at Brookfield Zoo.

Learn more about Common Bottlenose Dolphins here – Common Bottlenose Dolphin Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Brookfield Zoo on their website – Brookfield Zoo

Dolphin Swap Brookfield Zoo

Kai, a 27-year-old bottlenose dolphin, is back home at Brookfield Zoo. He had previously spent the last 16 years at Texas State Aquarium.

Photo Credit: Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo

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