It has been two weeks since the Pacific white-sided dolphin was born at the Shedd Aquarium. The animal care and health team have been unable to identify the sex of the calf until today—it’s a boy! Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training, said the Shedd staff has not needed to provide hands-on treatment of the calf -- yet.
“Mom has done such a great job taking care of the calf, we have not had to handle the dolphin,” said Ramirez. “So we just had to wait until he [the calf] opportunistically turned over and showed us.”
Male and female genitalia are internal with only slight external differences, making it difficult to identify.
Shedd Aquarium staff said they are pleased with the development of the dolphin. He has been nursing more efficiently, gained weight and become more independent from his mother, Piquet. The calf has gained about 5 pounds since birth. Staff estimates his weight to be about 30 pounds, but an adult male Pacific white-sided dolphin can get up to about 300 pounds.
Ramirez says the next milestone for the calf is to introduce him to other dolphins. He and his mother will remain in Secluded Bay for a couple more weeks so animal care experts can continue to monitor his progress and care for Piquet.
The calf has not yet been named.
“Our focus in the first few months of life is the well-being of the calf and mom,” said Ramirez. “So, we like to wait until we know the gender and learn more about his personality before giving him a name.”
Visit the photo gallery below to see more images of the baby dolphin.