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article imagePremature dolphin calf dies at Indianapolis Zoo Special

By Elizabeth Batt     Aug 6, 2012 in Environment
Indianapolis - The Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens announced the arrival of two new dolphin calves on the evening of July 12, but according to the zoo, one of the calves was premature and did not survive.
"It’s a baby boom at the Indianapolis Zoo," announced the zoo on its Facebook page on July 13th, "we celebrated an African elephant birth on June 28 and last evening two of our dolphins each delivered a calf."
With the new moms and babies needing quiet time to bond, the zoo closed the Marsh Dolphin Adventure Theater to the public to allow the whole dolphin pod to adjust. On July 19th, it seemed both mothers and calves were doing well:
The babies are bonding with their mothers and the pod is adjusting to the newcomers. This can take a while, so we ask for your patience. We'll have more details soon. Stay tuned.
Sadly in the Breaking News section on the Indianapolis Zoo website, it appeared the zoo had lost one of its calves:
Due to a dolphin birth at the Zoo, the Dolphin Pavilion is temporarily closed and Dolphin Shows are not currently taking place. The new mom and calf need quiet time to bond and the whole dolphin pod needs time to adjust to the newcomer. Additionally, our trainers are devoting their full attention to the health and care of our dolphins, so the Dolphin In-Water Adventure programs are also suspended. We will post more details as they become available. Thanks for understanding.
Digital Journal contacted the Indianapolis zoo for confirmation. Judith Gagen, a Conservation Communication Specialist with the zoo told us:
Thanks so much for asking about our dolphins. We currently have one surviving dolphin calf that is doing alright so far, although we will become more confident in the coming days as he hopefully continues to gain weight and learn more.
Mom is experienced and is doing a good job with nursing. The other calf was born prematurely to a first time mother, and although we were at least somewhat hopeful, congenital problems (observed in necropsy) showed problems with compromised lungs and infections. We are continuing to have “quiet time” at the Dolphin Pavilion, although we may allow some guests to come in for “keeper conversations” in the next few weeks.
Digital Journal believes that the first time mother who lost the calf is Indy, an Atlantic bottlenose born to China in 2001. The Indy zoo did not respond to attempts to clarify this or to questions about when the calf actually died.
Please Note: Since the original Breaking News section post, the Indy Zoo has updated their initial statement to the following:
The Marsh Dolphin Pavilion is temporarily closed and Dolphin Adventure Shows are not currently taking place because our dolphin pod is growing. Dolphin calves need quiet time to bond with mom and the whole dolphin pod needs time to adjust. Additionally, our trainers are devoting their full attention to the health and care of our dolphins. The Dolphin In-Water Adventure program is also temporarily suspended. However, the Underwater Dolphin Dome is open for public viewing. We will post more details on our website as they become available. Thanks for understanding.
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