After being in labor for three hour and 12 minutes—with the baby’s fluke already extended outside her mother’s body, a Pacific white-sided dolphin gave birth on Monday at Shedd Aquarium, a sight never seen in the wild.
This was the first pregnancy for the mammal named Katrl, and more than 40 members of the animal care and veterinary teams were standing by, giving rubs and snacks of herring, and witnessing the smoothly proceeding birth.
At 9:14 a.m., Katrl swam close to the surface and gave a final push. “It’s out!” someone cheered. “Its first breath!” With that essential milestone passed, everyone applauded the arrival of the approximately 3-foot, 25-pound new member of the Shedd family in Chicago.
“As soon as those little tail flukes appear, your heart begins to race, and you know it’s only a matter of time before you are about to witness something incredibly amazing,” wrote Lisa Takaki, senior director of marine mammals, in a blog post for Shedd. “To watch a dolphin be born is beautiful, but to also see its natural instincts fully take over in a matter of seconds as it kicks its tail to propel its little body to the surface to take its first breath is overwhelmingly emotional.”
In comparison to Mom the dolphin calf was nearly half her length.
“We are overjoyed that both mom and calf are doing well in these critical first hours.”
(WATCH the Video below – Learn more about the Dophin pair at Shedd)
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