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Sea World sees birth of bottlenose dolphin

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Sea World welcomed its newest resident this past Saturday at 3:32 p.m., a 40-pound bottlenose calf. Since the marine-themed amusement park opened in 1964, this birth marks the 80th successful dolphin delivery there.

After a pregnancy that lasted the normal twelve months, the labor and birth were described as easy by expert employees of Sea World. Sadie, the proud dolphin mom, is thirteen and this is her second calf, after having birthed a bottleneck five years ago.

Officials at the park confirmed that both mother and  calf were doing fine, and were exhibiting the kind of swimming and playing behavior typical of the bonding period. The successful progress of the baby dolphin is at a crucial point in the first days following birth. The mother and child will be monitored almost continuously at this time, and all activities and behaviors such as nursing and feeding will be documented. The sex of the baby will be determined by experts during the next few weeks.

Sadie and her baby belong to the Tursiops genus, the most widespread and studied genus of the Delphinidae family, the dolphins found in the oceans of the world. Some time ago, scientists that the bottleneck dolphin genus (Tursiops) is composed of two different species, the common type, of which Sadie and newborn belong, called Tursiops tuncatus, and the rarer Tursiops aduncus species found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Now, a third species in the genus, commonly known as the Burrunan and scientifically named Tursiops australis, has been found.

bottleneck3All three species of bottlenecks typically travel in pods of from ten to thirty five dolphins. It is not yet understood if the grouping is family-related or there is some other kind of organization to the clusters, nor if the members of the pods change with any regularity. The bottleneck dolphins eat fish almost exclusively. They may hunt individually, in small groups, or occasionally, large numbers of bottlenecks might forage together.Their hearing, extending into frequencies not able to be sensed by most animals, is the dolphins most powerful tool when hunting. Their use of clicking sounds in order to judge the location and distance from other animals and objects by listening for the echoes is remarkable.

 

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