Brookfield's New Dolphin Calf Requires Extra Care

By LeeAnn Trotter
|  Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013  |  Updated 6:19 PM CDT
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There's a lot of excitement surrounding the recent births of two dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, but one of the calves requires a little extra TLC. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

There's a lot of excitement surrounding the recent births of two dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, but one of the calves requires a little extra TLC. LeeAnn Trotter reports.

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There's a lot of excitement surrounding the recent births of two dolphins at Brookfield Zoo, but one of the calves requires a little extra TLC.

The first newborn calf, an unnamed male, is the fifth offspring for his 31-year-old mother, Tapeko. He's eight weeks old and has made it past the first 30 days, which is critical for a newborn.

The second calf, also a male, was born two weeks later, but he lives in a pool all by himself and gets 24-hour human supervision. He's being hand reared by zoo keepers because his mom essentially rejected him.

"She just wasn't showing the proper level of maternal care that we needed to see for him to survive. She's a first time mom, that's not unusual," lead trainer Mark Gonka said.

The good news is, the mom has a good relationship with her trainers.

"For the first week of his life we were actually able to pump some milk from his mother, so he go all mother's milk for the first week, and then we switched over to a formula,"

While zoo keepers are pleased with the calf's progress and are optimistic about his chances, they still remain cautious.

"We've got two little boys. It's going to be really fun to have those two be able to grow up together," marine mammal curator Rita Stacey said.

Within the marine mammal community, there have been only a few documented cases of a newborn dolphin calf being hand reared.

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