A Pacific white-sided dolphin has been born at Shedd Aquarium. Mum, Piquet gave birth at around 12:10am on June 1. Currently keepers are giving the new mother and her calf round the clock care.
Tim Binder, executive vice president of animal care for the Shedd Aquarium said, “We are thrilled about the birth; however, a calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months, such as continuing to bond with its mother, learning to nurse, and later, learning to feed independently.”
Piquet and her calf have been bonding well and swimming together. Currently the calf is estimated to weigh 12.7 kg (28lb). They have not been able to determine if it is a boy or girl yet.
This is the second calf for Piquet. Her three year old calf, Sagu is still at Shedd.
“Animal care and animal health staffs are excited and hopeful and are using the knowledge gained through previous births to help monitor and ensure mother and calf are meeting these important milestones,” added Binder.
Pacific white-sided dolphins are only held by four accredited institutions in North America. There are just 20 of them held in these facilities so each birth is significant to the population.
Shedd works with other institutions to ensure that the captive population is genetically diverse. A dolphin from the Miami Seaquarium in Florida known as Lii is the calf’s father.
This species is little studied in the wild as they live in the open water. It is known that they are abundant meaning there is not an immediate need to study them.
While Piquet and her calf bond they will be off exhibit.
Photo Credit: Shedd Aquarium/ Brenna Hernandez