Blog: Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Dolphin Calves Celebrate First Birthdays


This month of October, we are celebrating two special birthdays. Merlin and Magic— dolphins born on October 16 and 28, respectively—are reaching an important milestone by turning one year old. These two dolphin care success stories are particularly interesting because of the different paths by which the calves reached their first birthdays.

Merlin was raised by his mother, Tapeko, 33, while Magic was hand reared by Brookfield Zoo's professional animal care team. This is an incredible achievement only accomplished a few times within the marine mammal community and the first time at a zoo!

When Magic was born on October 28, his inexperienced mother, Spree, did not provide adequate maternal care. Concerned about the wellbeing of the calf, animal care team members made the decision to provide Magic with the necessary neonatal care, which meant providing around the clock care to the baby for several months. Magic successfully reaching several important milestones—eating solid food on his own, turning one year old, and being introduced to other dolphins in the group—is due to the dedication, knowledge and extraordinary efforts of the Society’s animal care team.

Now, after being with Tapeko and Merlin for several months, Magic continues to build this important relationship and learn other dolphin social behavior. Guests are now able to see Magic, Merlin, and Tapeko in the zoo's Seven Seas Underwater viewing gallery.


Dolphin Program at Chicago Zoological Society
The Chicago Zoological Society is a leader in dolphin care and conservation and manages the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program in Florida, now in its 44th year. This program, spearheaded by the Society’s Dr. Randy Wells, is the world’s longest-running study of a wild dolphin population. The program’s primary focus involves up to five concurrent generations of bottlenose dolphins residing year-round in Sarasota Bay, Florida, where the program originated in 1970. The program—which focuses on dolphins’ health, behavior, genetics, and adverse interactions with humans, as well as environmental change, among other factors —has gained an international reputation for providing high-quality information of importance to worldwide dolphin conservation efforts.

The Society is also accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, which is an international association representing marine life parks, aquariums, zoos, research facilities, and professional organizations dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study, and wildlife presentations.

Posted: 10/27/2014 1:04:32 PM by


Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Read the latest exciting stories about how our experts are advancing the science of “animal-directed” care through innovative programs at Brookfield Zoo and global field efforts.

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