Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Minnesota Zoo Announces Dolphin Pregnancy

The Minnesota Zoo is excited to announce that “Allie,” its 21-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, is pregnant. The calf is due in the spring of 2009.

Allie was suspected to be pregnant after marine mammal staff observed courtship and breeding activity between her and “Semo,” the adult male dolphin. Confirmation of the pregnancy was obtained by measuring hormone levels and through ultrasonographic imaging which detected a fetus and fetal heart beat. Allie will be closely monitored by marine mammal staff and veterinarians throughout her pregnancy. "This is an exciting time for the Zoo and we're thrilled that Allie is expecting,” said Marine Mammal Supervisor Diane Fusco. “We will be closely monitoring Allie throughout her pregnancy and we’re looking forward to introducing the calf to our Zoo guests in 2009.”

Marine mammal staff are also evaluating the health of Allie’s mother “April,” due to some irregularity with her behavior. The 41-year-old dolphin is currently under going diagnostic testing in conjunction with the University of Minnesota veterinary staff.

Both Allie and April arrived at the Minnesota Zoo in January, 2008 from the Dolphin Connection in Florida as part of a breeding recommendation by a consortium of zoos and aquariums that manage their animals collectively. Since their arrival, the two dolphins have been on display with resident dolphins “Semo,” father of the expectant calf, and his daughter “Spree.”

Because of Allie’s pregnancy and the Minnesota Zoo’s decision to begin managing the dolphins as a breeding group instead of a show group, the Zoo’s dolphin shows will be canceled effective today. The dolphins will continue being visible from the Great Hall in Discovery Bay, and Zoo guests are welcome to visit them–and see periodic enrichment sessions–during open stadium hours.

The most familiar of the 37 species of dolphins, adult Atlantic bottlenose dolphins range in length from 8 to 12 feet and weigh between 400 and 600 pounds. Their sleek, torpedo-shaped bodies are padded with a layer of insulating blubber. Their prominent rostrums or beaks account for the name “bottlenose.” Bottlenose dolphins inhabit warm and temperate seas worldwide and may also enter harbor bays, lagoons, estuaries and river mouths. Some populations can also be found living offshore.

The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

source: mnzoo.org