After 12 months of pregnancy, a Pacific white-sided dolphin at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium on Friday finally gave birth to a baby calf.
The calf -- gender so far unknown -- was born to Tique, a 26-year-old, 200-pound dolphin, shortly before 9 a.m.
She was temporarily relocated to Miami and impregnated by a male named Lii at the Miami Sequarium.
"We are thrilled about the birth; however, the calf must reach several milestones in its first days and months," said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal collections and training. "The biggest milestone we will be watching closely for throughout the coming days is the interaction between mom and calf. It’s critical for the calf and mom to bond."
Besides bonding, the new calf must overcome a number of other challenging milestones, such as learning to nurse and, later, learning to feed independently.
There are fewer than 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins in North American facilities.
According to Ramirez, strategic partnerships with organizations like the Miami Seaquarium and other leading aquariums around the world are critical to increasing Pacific white-sided dolphin populations and genetic diversity in zoos and aquariums.