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October 4, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce that its two bottlenose dolphins, “Semo” and “Allie,” have relocated to great new homes! Currently the oldest male bottlenose dolphin in human care, “Semo,” 48, now resides at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California; “Allie,” 25, is now at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

The Minnesota Zoo had to relocate its dolphins in order to allow for major, necessary repairs to its 15-year-old Discovery Bay building after years of salt water damage.

“We will miss Allie and Semo, but are excited to see them begin their new journeys,” said Minnesota Zoo Marine Mammal Supervisor Diane Fusco. “They are being provided with opportunities to develop new social relationships with other dolphins, and we know they’ll be kept busy. The staff members at both locations are fantastic, and we know Allie and Semo will be well taken care of.”

Marine mammal staff at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has expertise in caring for senior marine mammals. Terry, a 51-year-old female bottlenose dolphin was one of the oldest female dolphins in human care before she passed away in 2011. Veterinary and animal staff gained a great deal of knowledge about the needs of older marine mammals from caring for her. As a viable male, Semo may still, in fact, contribute to the genetic diversity of bottlenose dolphins in North America since he is not represented among the park’s 14 dolphins. He was accompanied by marine mammal trainers and a veterinarian during his trip to California. He will be monitored over the next 24-48 hours, during which time he will be introduced to four other female dolphins.

The Chicago Zoological Society is a leader in dolphin care and research, which includes its support of the longest-running wild dolphin study in the world (more than 40 years). Society staff has trained dozens of Ph.D.s and field conservationists as well as have sponsored the passage of dolphin legislation to improve the lives of dolphins in the wild.

Allie, who is owned by the Chicago Zoological Society, has been on a breeding loan at Minnesota Zoo since 2008. While at Brookfield Zoo from 1995 to 2000, she established a bond with Tapeko, Brookfield Zoo’s 30-year-old female dolphin.
Allie will be closely monitored in the coming days. Currently, she is off exhibit with Tapeko and Tapeko’s daughter, Allison, 6, until she gets reacclimated to her home and trainers. Allie will then join Brookfield Zoo’s current dolphin group—Spree, 10; Noelani, 8; Chinook, 29; and Tatem, 8—and be part of the dolphin presentations. Allie was accompanied by members of the Chicago Zoological Society marine mammal staff and a Minnesota Zoo veterinarian while en route to Illinois.