Baby dolphin dies in captivity weeks after birth

Randy Datu

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The calf, born last July 7 at the Ocean Adventure park in Subic, died on Sunday, July 21, due to an infection

MOTHER AND CHILD. The baby dolphin (R) swimming with its mother Vi (L), at the Ocean Adventure marine park in Subic Bay. File photo by Randy Datu

SUBIC BAY, Philippines – The first-ever dolphin calf born in captivity in this country has died, according to officials of the theme park Ocean Adventure.

In a statement, Carlo Magno, Ocean Adventure’s Director for Animal Care Department, said that the calf died on Sunday, July 21, due to an infection.

The baby dolphin was born 7 pm on July 6, at the Ocean Adventure marine park in Subic Bay. 

The calf, whose length is less than 1 meter long and weighed approximately 12 kilos, belonged to first-time mother “Vi,” is 11 years old who was discovered to be pregnant after a routine ultrasound last February.

Before the calf succumbed to an infection, Magno said that Ocean Adventure staff were working around the clock to assure optimal care for mother and baby.

A special birthing pen and large nursing lagoon were built. Cameras and an observation deck were installed to enhance monitoring. Vi also trained with a special dolphin “puppet” to encourage nursing behavior, he said.

Throughout the 12-month pregnancy, Vi continued to participate in Ocean Adventure training sessions and programs.

For the last 3 months before the birth of the calf, like her pregnant human counterparts, “Vi” was encouraged to continue light exercise under the watch eyes of observers, Magno said.

Magno said after the calf was born: “Baby dolphins are very vulnerable. Every scratch on their delicate skin is a potentially lethal source of infection until their immune system develops several days after birth. They must swim continually to stay afloat with a soft tail that takes hours to become rigid enough for efficient swimming. He will be at risk for the first 30 days.” –

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