Shedd Aquarium had something else to celebrate on Memorial Day, when Piquet, a Pacific white-sided dolphin, gave birth around 10:34 p.m.
Employees of the aquarium had been expecting the birth for days. Sixty employees even camped out at the closed aquarium during NATO weekend to make sure Piquet had proper care if she went into labor.
According to officials, it didn't take long after the birth for the calf to begin bonding with its mother. it reportedly swam to the surface and took a breath right after the birth, and then began swimming around with her. The gender of the calf has not yet been determined.
Both mother and calf are reported to be in good physical condition, though they will remain under constant surveillance for the next year.
"We are thrilled about the birth; however, a calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months," said Shedd Executive Vice President of Animal Care and Training Ken Ramirez in a statement.
Among the milestones is continuing forming a bond with its mother, learning to nurse and, after some growth, learning how to feed itself. Shedd has animal care and animal health employees on hand to help the calf through these milestones, based on their experience with previous births.
The Secluded Bay area where the mother and calf reside will be temporarily closed to ensure the best possible animal care for the new baby. The rest of the aquarium, including the rest of the Abbott Oceanarium, will remain open to the public.
The Secluded Bay area is expected to open to public view again after the calf's first critical period has ended.