We are so lucky! Today a baby manatee was born, a new member of the manatee’s family at Puerto Aventuras, Riviera Maya. Juliette the mother has given birth this morning to a healthy, perfect manatee who is now breastfeeding. The baby manatee use to weight 44 pounds and measure less than 3 feet when they born, but they grow very fast. It is too soon to know if it is a male or a female though we are pretty sure Juliette will take care of him very well like she did before with her previous babies: Yoltzin was born in August 2005 and it was the second one born under human care in Mexico, nowadays it is living at Dreams location, over there in Puerto Aventuras.
Quijote was her second baby, born in 2008, it is living in Cozumel with his brother Edgarin, he was born two years later in September 2010 being Juliette’s third baby. In November 2012 at Puerto Aventuras baby manatee Lorencillo was born and he lives right there were the newborn has just yet arrived and they will be best siblings and best friends certainly.
The reproductive program of this specie is a matter of much importance for Dolphin Discovery Group because this type of marine mammals are under threat of extinction in the region and all over Mexico.The manatee census at Quintana Roo and Yucatan indicated that there are only 200-250 manatees living in the area and over the rest of the country there are proximately 1500-2000. These numbers are given by the Dr. Benjamin Morales from Ecosur Center, at Chetumal, we have collaborative and investigative agreements with them and we always celebrate all together September the 7th, “Manatee’s National Day”. We cordially invite you to come to Puerto Aventuras to see this beautiful newborn.
Dolphin Discovery and the National Day of the Manatee
What animal is this? Is it like a sea lion? Does it look like a dolphin? These are some of the dozens of questions we hear from our guests every day at Dolphin Discovery about the manatees. Sometimes they are called “sea cows” or “marine elephants”, we simply call them by their name, manatee.
Mexico, especially the state of Quintan Roo, should be proud to have this species in the region. It’s an animal that can weigh almost one tonne, it’s movements in the water are slow and it has no natural predator except, like many other species, human beings which are its largest threat. Their diet is exclusively vegetarian and they do not have visible teeth like the dolphin. Their need to breathe air at the surface of the water has led to hundreds of manatee deaths due to the impact of the propellers of boats and the dangers of fishing nets. Dolphin Discovery uses this as inspiration to celebrate the National Day of the Manatee every September 7 as a commemorative event and opportunity to educate the next generations about our work and to invite youth to make the manatees are a part of their lives too.
Thanks to the efforts of institutions like Colegio Frontera Sur and Dolphin Discovery, every year information about these marine mammals is shared with hundreds of people. The meeting occurs in Chetumal, the center of the celebrations of this important day. Dolphin Discovery Coordinator of Environmental Education Rosario Garcia and two of her team members travel to the state capital to work with the team of Dr. Benjamin Morales in providing two days of free activities. The Environmental Education team is coordinated by the subdirection of trainers group, Edgar Urbina, Manuel Garduño and Alex Mata which attends the most relevant national and international events related to the environment.
During the two days there are numerous delightful activities for children and adults; gifts, murals, direct interaction with the biologists, creating art with recycled materials, an endless series of moments dedicated to inspiring the next generation of caregivers to our planet to conserve the species and create a consciousness about the use of natural resources.
The biggest threat to the manatee is the contamination of the natural lagoons, pollution is destroying the areas and the availability of food sources is diminishing because of human irresponsibility. Dolphin Discovery will not stand idly by, in our ten locations in Mexico we demonstrate to our guests the fragility of the species and the large quantity of waste and garbage that ends up in the ocean and lagoons.
The texture of a plastic bag underwater is almost the same as marine algae and the poor vision of the manatee does not allow it to distinguish between the two. This is just one of dozens of examples of why we need to care about how we live our daily lives.
Dolphin Discovery is home to 11 manatees, 4 of which were born in our installations and others that have been rescued as in the case of Robert. Only two days old and orphaned, he was brought to our Puerto Aventuras location where the Grupo Dolphin family of manatees along with trainers and veterinarians raised him. Now everyone can meet him in our natural lagoon.
In just two days of the events in Chetumal, 150 children participated in the educational programs of Dolphin Discovery on September 7, and a total of 420 children visited our Day of the Manatee displays which, without a doubt, will leave them with a grand impression of this animal and the importance of conservation.
Albert Einstein said “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.”
Like many of my dear friends and colleagues I have had the honor to train marine mammals and build relationships with many individual species of Cetacea, Pinnipedia and Sirenea. I have also had the opportunity during the last 23 years to work side by side with other trainers from many different cultures and languages and have had the extreme good fortune to teach students from just as many cultures and languages. With this level of exposure I have learned all sorts of valuable lessons with one making the top of the list and that is RESPECT.
I have personally witnessed countless times how these animals living under our care teach our guests, staff and students respect for the planet we all live in. By sharing these wonderful dolphins, sea lions and manatees with others in a safe controlled environment, the animals themselves have touched the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens, from Russia, Iceland, Japan, Dubai and USA like no other teacher could. When we respect our planet and all of us who share this earth we have made steps towards working together to conserve what we love and need to survive.
I have always strongly believed that it has never been my job to tell others what to believe, nor to convert the non-believers. I do however strongly believe and practice through my involvement with marine mammal interactive programs at Dolphin Discovery and through my teaching workshops at ABC Animal Training that by means of transparency and ‘laying it all out there’ an open minded individual is has been educated and empowered to make their own judgments and decisions. It is note worthy that to this day I have not met one person after experiencing a marine mammal interactive program or spending days with our training workshops who has not walked away with a new respect and love of what we do and ask “what is it I can do to help?”
So my friends keep your eye on the prize, don’t be confused by the rhetoric of half-truths and clever edited versions of our jobs, we do what we do so that this generation and future generations can live in a planet that respects all living things. Be proud, lead by example, do more than what is expected because together we are working for something much greater than ourselves.
Dolphin Discovery is pleased to welcome the newest member of our dolphin family, the newborn baby of mom “Frida”, born Tuesday August 14th around 7 am in Cozumel. I asked Alejandro Mata, our superstar trainer of trainers for the details and he gave me a full report!
Our expert team of veterinarians, biologists and trainers started monitoring Frida closely for 15 days before the expected day of birth. Through ultrasounds, the team can predict the birth date based on the distance between the pectoral fins, similar to how human babies are measured by their skull size. It is incredible how accurate the predictions are!
The newborn baby of Frida was born in the early hours of August 14th, with a natural and very quick birth. Baby came out tail first as is natural in dolphins, and was “folded like a taco”. The friction of the water helped “unfold” the newborn and they began to propel themselves through the water. Like all mammals, the baby is protected by a placenta in the womb (for 12 months in the case of dolphins), Frida expelled the one meter long sac at 9:30 am. The gender of the baby is still unknown, the team does not want to enter the water to check as they wish to avoid interfering with mother and child as much as possible. As with all baby dolphins, the skin is a very dark, almost black color, but as the skin renews every two hours, it will change to the silver-grey color of older dolphins.
The newborn had their first taste of mother’s milk at 11:30 am, an important event as the first milk consists of colostrum, a vital substance containing antibodies and defenses as well as important fats. Since the first sip, the baby hasn’t stopped, feeding 6 to 9 times every half hour for 6 to 8 seconds. The frequency will drop but the feeding times will grow longer as baby gains more experience.
The baby is breathing normally, matching the mother’s breaths exactly. Right now they move in rhythm and the baby is a shadow to Frida. She is teaching her little one to swim, breathe, turn and sleep, and the baby does exactly as she does, down to breathing at the same time, 22 to 28 times every ten minutes.
The Dolphin Discovery team is on constant watch for the next month, monitoring the baby’s every move, 24 hours a day and maintaining a log of feeding times, distance from mother (currently stuck to her side), breathing of mother and baby and how the baby feeds (from one or both mammary glands). The data is analyzed in graphic form to determine that everything is within normal parameters and we are happy to report that all is well!
Frida is a great mom (she has one previous birth, her son Charly who is thriving in our Riviera Maya facility) and we know that she will take great care of this beautiful new addition. Big congratulations to the Dolphin Discovery team on yet another healthy birth, the controlled reproduction program is a great success and something we are all very proud of. Big dolphin kisses to Frida and the wee one!
Leave a comment of congratulations and we will share your thoughts with the team and the dolphins! Please see our baby dolphin Flickr set for more photos and share the cuteness with your friends!
Dolphin Discovery Isla Mujeres is pleased to welcome a newborn dolphin to the family! On December 10, 2011, 19 year old mother Olympia gave birth to her second child, a beautiful baby girl who entered the world swimming like a champ! Baby and mom are doing great, Olympia is normally a shy lady but since giving birth she has gained confidence and loves showing off her little girl.
Our veterinarians and biologists have been with the baby girl 24 hours a day, monitoring her breathing, frequency of feeding and her swimming. She is in perfect health, learning from her mother and enjoying interactions with our team. She will stay close by her mother’s side for at least a year and a half, the bond between mother and daughter is tight! The highly successful and renowned reproduction program of Dolphin Discovery continues, with this latest addition to the family, we celebrate 54 dolphin births, congratulations team and welcome to the world little girl!
Please enjoy this incredible video of the birth of a newborn dolphin, it is a joy to watch the miracle of a new life coming in to this world!