Mama Frida with her newborn baby dolphin
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 is the world’s largest swim with dolphins company, founded in 1994 in Cancun, Mexico. Our first dolphinarium opened in Isla Mujeres with 3 dolphins and 15 staff. Since those humble beginnings, Grupo Dolphin Discovery has grown to 9 locations, 1000 employees and 120 dolphins in our care, more than 50 of which were born through our successful reproduction program. With the majority of our dolphinariums set in completely natural environments, Dolphin Discovery offers an authentic experience with dolphins, manatees and sea lions.
Dolphin Discovery Isla Mujeres
Dolphin Discovery takes great pride in providing our guests with the ultimate marine mammal interactions. In order to meet this goal, it is essential to maintain strict standards at all our dolphinariums. Dolphin Discovery’s dedication to providing the highest quality animal care, safety standards, and customer experience while continuing education programs and scientific investigations has once again been recognized by AMMPA, the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, for the 7th consecutive year.
“The Alliance administers a stringent accreditation process for its members. Accredited members must uphold Alliance Standards and Guidelines to optimize the psychological and physical health of, and environmental conditions for, individual marine mammals under their care, and to maximize the educational and scientific value of their collections as a whole.”
Dolphin Discovery is the ONLY swim with dolphins company in Mexico to merit this certification. In fact, there are only 41 AMMPA certified parks in the entire world, 7 of those are Dolphin Discovery parks and 2 more certifications are expected for the company in 2013. Other parks around the world that have earned this distinction are Sea World, Alaska Sea Life Center, Discovery Cove, Dolphin Explorer, Zoo Marine, Sea Marine Park and Dolphin Quest in Hawaii, among others.
Top quality veterinary care
The stringent guidelines of AMMPA include 12 standards that must be met in order to receive certification. Parks must provide documentation proving their adherence to these guidelines, including records of the dolphins’ origins showing they were obtained in a humane, legal manner and did not come from conflictive areas (preference is given to parks such as Dolphin Discovery with excellent reproduction programs). Daily records of medical analyses, detailed plans and programs for education of staff, guests and the community outside of the dolphinarium, and evidence of continuing scientific investigation must be provided. Parks must be equipped with adequately sized areas for the animals, security measures for guests, animals and staff and show records of regular analysis of water quality. A long list of criteria must be met if the parks are to pass the intense inspections.
Newborn dolphin & mom Dec. 2011
Thanks to the dedication of each and every member of the Dolphin Discovery team, we are exceptionally proud to have met and exceeded the standards set by AMMPA. In addition to this prestigious recognition, Dolphin Discovery is also certified by IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainers Association) and ESR (Empresa Socialmente Responsable, “Socially Responsible Company” in English). We strive to be not only the largest dolphin company in the world, but to be the best, providing the highest quality care to our animals, our community and of course, to you, our guests. We hope you’ll join us soon for the experience of a lifetime!
“It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have…One pair that see through closed doors. Another in the back of her head…and, of course, the ones in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and reflect ‘I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.” -Erma Bombeck
Flowers, domestic appliances and cards crafted from macaroni spelling “I love you mom”, it’s the time of year once again where we celebrate the most tireless of creatures, “the mother”. Countries around the world will take a day to honour the women who have made us who we are, tended to our scraped knees, forced us to eat our vegetables and provided us with a home full of love. While the world celebrates “human” mommies, Dolphin Discovery would like to take a moment to tell you all about dolphin mamas and the ways they care for their young.
Pregnancy and birth- There is no real “season” for dolphin pregnancies, births happen all year long around the world. Gestation period is one year, yes, twelve long months (thanks mom!). Females have the ability to bear calves every two years, though three to six years is more common. Births happen in the water, usually tail-first though nose-first births occur occasionally. Sometimes a dolphin “aunt” is present at the birth to assist the mother and to provide support (breathe, push, breathe!) Baby dolphins generally weigh around 20 kgs/45 lbs and measure around 100 cm/40 inches in length. The fins of the newborn dolphin are generally pliable and slightly “floppy”, but they gradually become firm.
Caring for a young dolphin- Newborn dolphins stick very close to their mothers, never leaving their side and following their every move. They learn how to swim and maneuver in the water, and use their mother’s “slipstream” to facilitate their swimming. They nurse below the water, as often as four times an hour for about five to ten seconds per time. Baby dolphins are completely reliant on mother’s milk for at least the first six months of their lives until they learn how to hunt for fish and may nurse for up to 18 months. The bond between a mother dolphin and her offspring is strong, a calf typically spends 3 to 6 years close to mom.
Dolphin Discovery is so proud of all our dolphin moms and the human moms on our team as well. We are family and we welcome your family to join us in our Mother’s Day celebrations. We’ve got some great Mother’s Day discounts on swim with dolphins programs, what better way to show mom you love her than by sharing the experience of a lifetime with the best moms in the ocean?
Congratulations mommies, felicidades and THANK YOU for all that you do!
It’s a Girl! photo courtesy CaymanNetNews
Dolphin Discovery Grand Cayman is thrilled to announce the recent birth of a bouncing baby girl dolphin. The new calf, born to mother Allegria, is the first baby dolphin to be born in the Grand Cayman dolphinarium. The birth took place under the care of veternarian Juan Franco and the Department of Agriculture was present at this exciting event.
Juan Franco reported, “The dolphin calf is healthy and very playful, and visitors really enjoy the site of the newborn frolicking with her mother.”
Dolphin Discovery is proud of our successful breeding program, bringing healthy dolphins into the world under the care of experienced professionals. The program is recognized around the world for the expertise in caring for the newborn calves and their mothers. The level of care is state of the art, exceeding the standards of the US Department of Agriculture. All Dolphin Discovery parks adhere to the much higher standards set by the AMMPA (Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums). Dolphin Discovery is dedicated to education and respect for marine mammals, continually striving to build an ecological awareness in the guests of the parks and the employees of the company.
Welcome to the world baby girl, may you frolic happily in the paradise of Grand Cayman for many years to come!