Orphaned Dolphin Makes a Big Splash With New Pals - NBC Chicago

Orphaned Dolphin Makes a Big Splash With New Pals

Program At Brookfield Zoo Teaches Dolphin Bonding Skills



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    Spree the dolphin is getting love.

    An orphaned dolphin from the Minnesota Zoo has found a new family in Chicago.

    Spree is an 8-year-old female dolphin who became an orphan, after her mother Rio died in 2006 at the Minnesota Zoo and wasn't able to bond with other dolphins at the zoo, according to the Sun-Times.  

    But last August three dolphins from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago traveled to Minnesota, and were slowly introduced to Spree in her own habitat.  

    "What we wanted Spree to get into was a situation where she could get around animals of a similar age," Diane Frusco, a marine mammal supervisor at the Minnesota Zoo, told the Sun-Times about a plan they hatched with the Brookfield handlers. "The theme we were trying to get across was that you are a group of animals and you are a team,” said Frusco.

    After months of social interaction, the pack traveled back to Chicago  -- aboard a FedEx chartered plane, no less -- where they will be on display at The Brookfield Zoo at the end of May.

    Spree’s introduction into the group was not only to nourish her social side, but also to help her learn mothering skills. 

    "She is a very important part of our breeding program," said Rita Stacey, Brookfield Zoo's curator of marine mammals .

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images