On February 8th, at 3:30 in the morning the first Dolphin calf of 2016 was born at Gulf World to 10 year old, first time mom, Luna. This adorable baby girl was born in the main dolphin stadium weighing in at roughly 30 pounds and being around 3 feet long. She is nursing well and riding her mother’s slipstream just like any healthy calf would. Swimming in the mother’s slipstream allows the calf to keep up with her mother and nurse while on the move without using up much needed energy.
The gestation period of a Bottlenose Dolphin is roughly 12 months. So, this bun has been in the oven since about this time last year. The new arrival will be under 24 hour observation for the next several weeks to ensure the health and wellbeing of the newborn calf as she grows. In a zoological environment, such as a marine park like Gulf World, claves will begin to take fish from trainers at about 3 to 4 months of age, which is right around the time when their teeth begin to come in. However, this doesn’t mean the calf will stop nursing at that time. The calf may continue to nurse up until she is 18 months old. In addition to being Luna’s first calf, and the first calf of 2016, she is also making Sandy, Luna’s mother, a first time grandmother! All of these firsts make this calf very special, not only to Luna, but to the animal care staff at Gulf World and all of us here at Zoo Nation.