Blog: Center for the Science of Animal Welfare

Dolphin Update: Merlin

I’d like to give everyone a little update on the dolphin calves that were born here at Brookfield Zoo a few years ago. These young dolphins, Merlin, Magic, and Maxine, keep us very busy. Let’s start first with Tapeko’s son Merlin, born on Oct 16, 2013, who is now over three years old.

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Merlin Dolphin

Merlin has grown to over 7 feet in length and has gained almost 300 pounds over the course of the last few years. He eats several pounds of fish every day and still nurses from his mother. He has spent these last few years building social relationships not just with his mom, but his sisters (Noelani, Allison, and Maxine) and brother Magic, along with the other members of the dolphin group.
 
As he continues to grow and mature, he spends increasingly less time with his mom and more time with the other animals his age like Magic and Maxine and within his social group.
 
He also has developed strong relationships with the animal care staff that care for him on a daily basis. Due to these trusting relationships with staff, Merlin has learned many things that we call behaviors.
 
First and foremost he is learning behaviors that allow him to participate in his own health care. These behaviors include “layouts” which allows animal care staff to look over his body, measure his layer of blubber (important for keeping warm) and to allow our veterinarians the opportunity to use ultrasound to check on his internal organs to evaluate his health. 

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Tapeko and Merlin

Next time you are here at the zoo please make sure to stop by to see Merlin at Seven Seas in our Dolphins in Action or visit the dolphins in the underwater viewing area to see how much he has grown!
 
Stay tuned for update #2 on our young dolphins coming soon...
 
-Rita Stacey
Curator-Marine Mammals, Seven Seas

Posted: 5/8/2017 10:39:15 AM by Oksana Schak | with 0 comments


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