MARINELAND, FLA. (July 14, 2015) – On Sunday, July 12, one of Marineland Dolphin Adventure’s resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, Casique, successfully gave birth to a female calf. Shortly after birth, the calf took its first breath and then began to swim with its mother. Both mom and calf are doing well, and Marineland’s animal care and training teams will continue to monitor the pair in the coming months. The calf joins three other generations of female dolphins all descendants of great grandmother Betty, who is more than 40 years old.
“Marineland’s animal care and training teams have been preparing for the birth for months and discussed, planned for and practiced for all potential delivery scenarios. Our team has been giving around-the-clock care to Casique and her calf, taking every measure possible to ensure that the calf thrives to its best potential,” said Gregory Bossart, V.M.D., Ph.D., chief veterinary officer and senior vice president of Georgia Aquarium, Inc. “The first year of life for any calf is extremely critical. The first important milestones our team is looking for are independent nursing, weight gain and bonding with the mother. While there are many other significant milestones over the next several days and weeks that this calf must surpass to ensure its survival, the team is hopeful for a successful outcome.”
Pregnancy and giving birth are a delicate process for all mammals, and the aquatic environment makes it even more so with marine mammals. First-time pregnancies in cetacean mothers are often unsuccessful in both natural habitats and in human care. This is Casique’s first pregnancy. For this reason, Marineland’s animal care team is guardedly optimistic about the calf’s survivability.
The animal care and training team’s work has just begun. “In the coming months, as Casique’s confidence in the calf’s independence grows, our relationship with the baby can begin to develop,” said Stacey Spong, senior supervisor of animal training at Marineland Dolphin Adventure. “Our attention is focused on providing Casique the calories needed for her and the calf, as well as providing the best overall care for her and the calf during this critical time.”
Marineland Dolphin Adventure is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA) and has the longest standing dolphin breeding program of any aquarium or zoo. In fact, the first successful dolphin birth in a human care environment took place at Marineland in 1947. Current scientific data shows that calves born in AMMPA member zoological parks and aquariums have higher rates of survivability than those born in the wild.
Animals in accredited zoos and aquariums serve as ambassadors to their counterparts in the wild. Marineland Dolphin Adventure is committed to educational public display and conservation of dolphins, and will continue to share the vital knowledge gained through field research and this pregnancy and birth with the marine mammal community. Last year, Casique’s mother Dazzle, another resident Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at Marineland, welcomed a calf, Coquina. Casique was in the habitat during Coquina’s birth, which allowed her to watch and learn how to be a mom, increasing the chances of a successful outcome for her own calf.
“I’m extremely proud of the passionate, dedicated and unrivaled care that our experts have given and will continue to give Casique, her calf and the other dolphins in our care as we work through the coming critical months,“ said Kurt Allen, general manager and vice president of Marineland Dolphin Adventure.
Casique and the calf are currently bonding in the main habitat and are visible to the public. More information about Casique and her calf can be found on Marineland.net and Georgia Aquarium’s blog and newsroom. To be among the first to receive announcements about the calf and other information, sign up for Marineland’s e-newsletters here. Stay connected with Marineland Dolphin Adventure on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For a fact sheet on Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal-guide.
Contact Public Relations:
Senior Public Relations Specialist
ABOUT MARINELAND DOLPHIN ADVENTURE
Marineland Dolphin Adventure’s goal is to utilize interactive educational experiences to inspire visitors to value and respect marine mammals and their environment. Located south of St. Augustine, Florida, Marineland Dolphin Adventure opened in 1938 as Marine Studios and marked its 75th anniversary celebration in 2013. In addition to its status as one of Florida’s first and most beloved attractions, the park also pioneered marine science studies, animal training and water chemistry, and is known for establishing the world’s first successful dolphin breeding program. At today’s modern facility, the focus is on intimate, unhurried dolphin interactions, swimming with dolphins and a variety of engaging dolphin encounters. Marineland Dolphin Adventure also hosts memorable oceanside events. Marineland Dolphin Adventure is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit and is affiliate of Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit www.marineland.net.
ABOUT GEORGIA AQUARIUM
Georgia Aquarium, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit that encompasses Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Marineland Dolphin Adventure and Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station in Marineland, Fla. The mission of Georgia Aquarium, Inc. is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific organization featuring exhibits and programs of the highest standards, and offering engaging and exciting guest experiences that promote the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. For additional information, visit www.georgiaaquarium.org.