A baby dolphin was born Monday (September 17, 2012) at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, located at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.
It’s the first baby for proud dolphin mom, 12-year-old Keo. Dolphin Quest trainers were in the water during the dolphin birth to observe and comfort the new dolphin mom. Dolphins Pele (the new baby’s grandmother) and Noelani (the baby’s aunt) were also in the Dolphin Quest lagoon to keep Keo company.
The baby, a female calf, and mom are both well and wonderful. The baby dolphin began nursing within four hours of birth. About 50 people gathered around the Hilton’s Dolphin Quest lagoon to witness the rarely-seen event. Keo was in labor for approximately one hour.
The first 30 days of a newborn dolphin’s life are the most critical. Dolphin Quest trainers will continue round-the-clock watch over the pair, recording nursing and respiration rates, and making sure that Keo is well-fed and hydrated. Over that period, Keo’s new baby will be introduced to the other nine dolphins at Dolphin Quest Hawaii. After the initial 30 day care period, trainers will select a name for the new baby girl.
“The trust shared between Keo and her human Crew members throughout the birth of this beautiful baby was extraordinary,” said Dr. Rae Stone, marine mammal veterinarian and one of two Dolphin Quest founders who were present at the birth. “Keo clearly sought out and took comfort and reassurance from her human friends. And she willingly swam up to the dock to allow veterinarians to check the baby’s heart rate with ultrasound during labor.”
“This permitted the veterinarians to assess the baby’s physical condition at a critical time,” Dr. Stone added. “Keo’s delivery at Dolphin Quest demonstrates the amazing bond that is possible between dolphins and humans and the incredible standard of health care dolphins receive in today’s public display facilities.”
Visitors can see the new baby swimming with mom at Dolphin Quest Hawaii at Hilton Waikoloa Village.
Keo’s calf is the 18th dolphin baby and the first second-generation calf to be born at the conservation and education-dedicated marine park since Dolphin Quest opened in 1988.