Written by Charlotte Eriksen (Editor)
It's a boy!
Tapeko, a 31-year-old dolphin at the Brookfield Zoo, gave birth to a 40-pound, 3.5-foot male dolphin calf on Wednesday, Oct. 16, the Chicago Zoological Society announced Thursday.
The zoo’s dolphin presentations have been temporarily canceled to allow Tapeko and her calf time to bond and get acquainted with the other dolphins in the group, according to CZS.
“We know that the first 30 days are extremely critical in the calf’s life,” Rita Stacey, marine mammal curator for the Chicago Zoological Society said in a news release.
The time frame accounts for the largest rate of loss to dolphin populations both in the wild and under professional care as compared to any other demographic age group, according to CZS.
In August, the joy of a calf born to Allie, 26, quickly turned to sadness when the newborn died after six days.
Following a dolphin birth, there are several key milestones calves should reach. Nursing and slipstreaming, according to CZS, occurs when the calf rests in his mom’s “slipstream,” a hydrodynamic wake made by the mother as she swims using her own energy to help glide the calf.
"Marine mammal and veterinary staff have observed the new calf displaying these behaviors and are encouraged by what they have seen so far, however they remain cautiously optimistic," according to the release.
Tapeko has successfully reared four calves, one of which was her grandson as well as daughters Allison 7, and Noelani, 9, who are both members of the dolphin group at Brookfield Zoo.
“This is an important time for our breeding group of females,” Stacey said. “As an experienced mom, Tapeko is able to demonstrate to the younger females how to care for a newborn calf.”
Spree, 11, is expected to give birth to her first calf at Brookfield Zoo later this fall.
Although the calf and his mom are currently off exhibit, the Seven Seas underwater viewing gallery will remain open. For updates on the calf and when presentations will resume, go to www.CZS.org.