Keo, a 12 year old dolphin at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, gave birth to her first calf on Monday, Sept. 17th after a mere hour of labor. Trainers were in the water with Keo as she gave birth to help comfort her if needed. Cameras were also located in the water, and the entire event was captured on film.
Dr. Rae Stone, marine mammal veterinarian and one of two Dolphin Quest
founders who were present at the birth, issued a statement saying:
"The trust shared between Keo and her human Crew members throughout the birth of this beautiful baby was extraordinary. Keo clearly sought out and took comfort and reassurance from her human friends. And she willingly swam up to the dock to allow veterinarians to check the baby's heart rate with ultrasound during labor.”
This permitted the veterinarians to assess the baby's physical condition at a critical time. Keo's delivery at Dolphin Quest demonstrates the amazing bond that is possible between dolphins and humans and the incredible standard of health care dolphins receive in today's public display facilities.”
Julie Rocho-Levine, manager of marine animals for Dolphin Quest, told SeattlePI.com
that officials will monitor the baby around the clock for the time being because the first 30 days of life are most critical if dolphin calves are to survive.
According to Defenders of Wildlife
, the gestation period for dolphins is anywhere between 9-17 months, depending on the species. Calves typically are born tail-first and will nurse anywhere from 11 months to 2 years-old, again, depending on the species of dolphin.