A baby dolphin has made its way into the world at Brookfield Zoo, officials announced Thursday.
The new calf, born Wednesday to its 31-year-old mother Tapeko, measures 3.5 feet and weighs roughly 40 pounds.
Veterinary and marine mammal staff said the newborn is demonstrating several key behaviors and are encouraged by the young dolphin’s progress, but remain cautious.
The birth of the baby calf prompted the closing of the zoo’s dolphin presentations, to allow the mother and her newborn to get acquainted with the other dolphins in the group, officials said.
“We know that the first 30 days are extremely critical in the calf’s life,” said Rita Stacey, marine mammal curator for the Chicago Zoological Society.
This time frame accounts for the largest rate of loss to dolphin populations both in the wild and under professional care as compared to any other demographic age group.
Zoo officials said they hope the birth of baby dolphin will be encouraging for other expecting mothers in the dolphin group, including one who is expected to give birth later this fall.