Saturday, 28 March 2009

Qannik Dies at PDZA

Qannik Dies of Unknown Illness
Brian Everstine; THE NEWS TRIBUNE
Qannik, one of the most famous residents of Tacoma’s Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, died Saturday evening. He was 8.
Aquarium officials became concerned when Qannik began to lose interest in food on March 15. Officials were preparing to move him to a warmer pool Saturday, but he began to “spiral out of control very quickly,” Point Defiance Deputy Director John Houck said. He died at about 6:20 p.m.

“It is a big and devastating loss to us,” he said. “He was a great animal. He really was.”

Officials were helping Qannik eat, while experts from a Chicago aquarium and Sea World in San Diego tried to determine what was ailing the whale.

“This illness has been very frustrating because we still don’t know what the cause is,” Houck said.

Officials were preparing to perform a necropsy on the whale Saturday night, but results would not be available immediately.

Qannik (pronounced kah-NIK) came to Tacoma in 2007 from Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium. He is the offspring of Mayauk, a former Point Defiance resident who was later moved to the Shedd Aquarium.

Mayauk lost two newborn calves during her stay in Tacoma, and a third died in Chicago. She gave birth to Qannik in 2000.

The aquarium has one remaining beluga, Beethoven. The two have been a beloved fixture in the zoo for the past few years.

“Belugas are certainly one of our high-profile species,” Houck said. “It’s a significant loss to our family here, to our collection. He was an animal who was well loved not only by the staff of the zoo but also to the community.”

Officials said last week that Qannik was showing some signs of improvement, such as increased interaction with Beethoven and an improved white blood cell count, but he faded quickly on Saturday.

“I’m really proud of the staff, of the efforts we put in,” Houck said. “I honestly believe we did everything we possibly could to turn this situation around.”


For Minnesota Zoo, long wait for dolphin calf ends in sadness

It took hours for Allie to believe her calf would never move.

The 21-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin at the Minnesota Zoo spent much of Thursday morning circling the stillborn calf, using her beak to push her baby to the surface so it could take its first breath.

"There was no way she was going to let us near that calf until she realized it was not going to swim with her," said Kevin Willis, director of biological programs at the zoo.

Signs of labor problems came early.

Allie had released an abnormal amount of fluid and blood by the time on-call staff arrived early Thursday.

"Nobody wanted to think this might not work," Willis said.

Once born, the 45-inch-long, 33-pound female calf was lifeless.

Suddenly, hopes of having the zoo's first successful dolphin birth since three dolphins — including 7-month-old calf Harley — died in 2006 quickly turned into sadness.

The stillborn calf was the second at the Minnesota Zoo, which has had eight dolphin births since the facility opened 31 years ago, Willis said.

The calf likely died of complications during labor caused by a damaged umbilical cord, Willis said. A necropsy — an autopsy on an animal — will be performed to examine the cause of death further.

Stillborn deaths are common among dolphins, especially for younger females having their first or second calf, said Paul Boyle, senior vice president for conservation and education at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums in Maryland.

This was Allie's second calf.

"Nobody wants to see a dolphin lost, especially at birth," Boyle said.

An estimated 70 percent of dolphins born in captivity survive their first 30 days, zoo staff said.

A sign at the dolphin aquarium Thursday alerted visitors to the news. Children rushed to the aquarium to watch the dolphins swim, while their parents stopped to read.

"It's disappointing. You don't know when (is) the next time it's going to happen," said Ciara Brix, referring to another dolphin pregnancy. Brix, 27, a nanny from Burnsville, has been following Allie's pregnancy.

There were no signs of complications before the labor. Two days before the birth, the estimated 500-pound mom underwent an ultrasound that showed the calf had a strong fetal heartbeat and was correctly positioned.

Zookeepers had hoped the calf's birth would bring good news to its Discovery Bay exhibit. Allie's pregnancy was highly publicized.

Trainers documented the careful preparation for Allie's delivery on a blog. They even posted a video of a monthly ultrasound, showing the calf's spine and beating heart.

Allie and her mom, April, 41, were shipped to the Minnesota Zoo from a Florida facility early last year with the hope they would mate with Semo, 45.

"Basically, our little picture of what the future will be, changed," Willis said.

Plans are to reunite Allie and April, who have been together in the maternity pool, with Semo and his 7-year-old daughter, Spree.

Maintenance on the dolphin pools, which was postponed because of the expected birth, will now begin.

As zoos and aquariums nationwide monitor captive dolphin populations, the Minnesota Zoo will wait to see whether other facilities have successful pregnancies before trying again.

Whatever the scenario, Allie and April likely will stay in Minnesota.

"This has been a story," Willis said. "There were complications during labor. It doesn't mean you stop trying. It doesn't mean you did something wrong."

Maricella Miranda can be reached at 651-228-5421.


Sunday, 22 March 2009

Porter Dies at SeaWorld Orlando

Porter, a male Bottlenose Dolphin, has died at SeaWorld Orlando. His date of death was March 22, 2009.
Porter was born at the San Antonio park to a dolphin named "Jenever". His sire was Capricorn. During his time at Sea World Orlando Porter remained in the Dolphin Stadium and performed in the Blue Horizons show.

Source: Ceta Base

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Second Birth at Madrid Zoo

Mancha has given birth to a male calf at Madrid Zoo. This marks the second birth for the facility this year! The calf was sired by Triton and has been named "Rumbo

Source: Ceta base

Monday, 9 March 2009

Dolphin Encounters Annouces Birth

For twenty years, Dolphin Encounters located on idyllic Blue Lagoon Island has offered Bahamians and visitors from around the world the unique opportunity to interact and learn about friendly marine mammals in an unparalleled all-natural marine habitat.
As part of its 20th Anniversary Celebration, Dolphin Encounters is inviting the children of The Bahamas to name the latest addition to their dolphin family – a healthy male calf. The dolphin baby is the fourth calf born to Princess on October 11th 2008.

“Dolphin Encounters is very fortunate to have another baby calf born on Blue Lagoon Island to Princess, our eldest dolphin,” said Robert Meister, Managing Director of Dolphin Encounters. “Princess has been a part of our beloved marine mammal family from the very beginning. Through our many educational programs, thousands of school children have met her and have come to love her and all of our animals as much as we do. We wanted the honour of naming her boy calf to be given to the children of The Bahamas.”

Students enrolled in any grade from kindergarten to grade twelve in the Bahamas are invited to submit suggestions for the name of the baby male dolphin. In keeping with Bahamian culture, the name selected must be related to island culture, history or geography. All submissions must also include the reason the student feels the name should be chosen. The student whose name is chosen will receive a special dolphin gift kit, a free Dolphin Adventure Program for their entire class where they will meet the baby and Princess.

“The baby calf and Mom are doing very well,” said Kim Terrell, Marine Mammal Director at Dolphin Encounters. “Princess is an extraordinary and experienced mother and has given birth to three of our other dolphins including, Shawn, Abaco and Salvador. When dolphins successfully breed under human care, it is a scientific indicator that they are completely adapted to the environment in which they live. The fact that eleven of our eighteen dolphin family members were born at Dolphin Encounters makes us proud that the all natural environment which we have provided is ultimately ideal for the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin.”

“We have a great deal to celebrate and be proud of in our twenty year history but nothing compares to our extraordinary animals that have brought joy and a greater understanding of marine mammals and the environment in which they live to Bahamians and visitors alike,” added Mr. Meister. “We look forward to receiving submissions from students and to announce the winning name in April.”

The baby-naming contest is free to students in The Bahamas and application forms are available online at, at the Dolphin Encounters offices at One Marina Drive Paradise Island. For more information call 359-0278 ext.303 or email The contest runs from March 1st – March 31st, 2009.

Home to Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins, including the internationally famous ‘Flipper’, as well as California Sea Lions which include the stars of the movie ‘Andre’, this leading attraction continues to set the standard for marine mammal interactive programs in the world. More than 2.5 million people in its extraordinary twenty year history have visited the facility and gained a higher appreciation for these brilliant and affectionate creatures and their natural marine environment.

Visitors are inevitably thrilled by their time with the dolphins, but the mission at Dolphin Encounters is not only to provide entertainment — it’s also about education. From its earliest days, the facility has offered a multitude of free programs to schools and underprivileged children to inform Bahamian teachers and students about marine life and the importance of protecting our environment.

A non-profit element of the marine park, Dolphin Encounters – Project B.E.A.C.H. (Bahamas Education Association for Cetacean Health) was developed in close consultation with the Bahamas Department of Education, the National Science Teachers Association and BREEF (Bahamas Reef Environment Educational Foundation). To date, thousands of local students and teachers have benefited from its innovative, on-site and classroom programs.

In 2003, Dolphin Encounters and Project B.E.A.C.H. received the prestigious Cacique Award, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s highest honour for excellence in tourism.

Dolphin Encounters is a member of the International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA), the largest organisation of its kind. In 1997, the facility was accepted into the prestigious Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), and in 2004 became an accredited member of the group, confirming its status as one of the top marine parks in the world.

For more information about Dolphin Encounters and our native dolphin family, please visit or call 242-363-3250 (general inquiries) or 242-363-1003 (reservations). Visit for more information.