Friday, 29 May 2009

Last Beluga to leave Point Defiance

Last beluga to leave Point Defiance The News Tribune Published: 04/23/09 12:05 am Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will lose its remaining beluga to a Texas aquarium, the announcement Wednesday coming less than a month after its other whale died at the aquarium. Point Defiance officials said 16-year-old Beethoven will return to Sea World in San Antonio, where he was born. He came to Point Defiance 11 years ago from Sea World in San Diego. Favorites at the zoo’s Rocky Shores aquarium, bulbous-headed white belugas have enthralled and entertained visitors since the mid-1980s. To replace the whales, zoo staff members hope to bring a trio of salmon-eating California sea lions. “Beethoven has touched millions of lives and been an extraordinary ambassador for whales everywhere during his 11 years here,” said Gary Geddes, director of zoological and environmental education for Metro Parks Tacoma. “While we’re sad about his return to Sea World, we believe that it’s best for Beethoven and the future of the beluga population in zoos and aquariums across the country.” The move isn’t directly connected to the March 28 death of the zoo’s other beluga, Qannik, Geddes said. Zoo officials announced last Thursday that a bacterial blood infection killed Qannik. Beethoven was not affected and is considered healthy. Nearly three months before Qannik’s death, Geddes said, the Taxon Advisory Group, which oversees the 35 captive belugas in North America, talked about moving Beethoven into a breeding program. As a healthy male, Beethoven has the chance to make a significant contribution to the genetic diversity of the species, Geddes said. Beethoven has yet to sire any offspring. Geddes acknowledged that if Qannik were still alive, Beethoven’s move might have taken longer. But Qannik’s death left Beethoven alone, which isn’t good for social animals like belugas, he said. “It’s better for him to get with a group,” he said. Zoo marine biologists and trainers can do a lot to compensate for a beluga’s loss of companionship, Geddes said. The beluga advisory group thought it made sense for Sea World to move quickly to obtain Beethoven, Geddes said. San Antonio filed a federal request for the transfer. Barring any objections, it could take place anytime after April 29. Point Defiance will alert the public to the transfer so people can say goodbye to Beethoven before he is shipped by airliner to Texas and his new life, Geddes said. As for the aquarium getting another beluga, Geddes said that will be up to the advisory committee. At present, no belugas are ready for or need a move. “Right now there are stable groupings (of belugas) in aquariums,” he said. “It could be quite some time.” Point Defiance is in the midst of a long-term planning effort about the zoo’s collection and will make recommendations to the Metro Parks Tacoma board in the fall. Nothing currently rules out a return of belugas, he said. In the meantime, the zoo has applied for three California sea lions as part of the government effort to trap and remove dozens of the animals, which are feeding on endangered salmon on the Columbia River. “We have a wonderful opportunity to provide a home for these California sea lions and allow our visitors to see these amazing animals up close,” Geddes said. “There is certainly a story to tell about the sea lions and the salmon.” The sea lions might come to Point Defiance relatively quickly, or it could take up to a year or more. Trapping season on the Columbia River ends in June and won’t start again until next spring, when the salmon return. “We understand the sea lions are becoming trap-wary,” Geddes said. The animals will require some modification to the beluga aquarium. In the short term, Geddes said, there is the possibility of mixing and matching the aquarium’s marine mammals in the beluga aquarium, though that also would require changes in the aquarium itself. http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/story/718341.htmlOpen in a new window A photo at link.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Popular Dolphin Dies at Vancouver Aquarium

Updated Thu. May. 21 2009 9:32 PM ET

Darcy Wintonyk, ctvbc.ca

A popular inhabitant of the Vancouver Aquarium has passed away.

Laverne, a 31-year-old female Pacific white-sided dolphin, died on Wednesday night after a month long illness.

Laverne -- the oldest white-sided dolphin in North America -- came to Vancouver in July 2005 from a SeaWorld in Texas, and quickly became a favourite at the facility.

"She was very, very much loved dolphin here," Dr. Martin Haulena, staff veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium, said. "A very interactive dolphin, loved to meet the kids and that sort of thing."

Haulena said she was considered a geriatric animal because of her advanced age, and was "treated for a variety of old lady conditions" over the past few years.

"Skin diseases, a little arthritis, some yeast infections," Haulena said. "Her medical record is quite extensive and she'd been reaching her twilight or retirement years and was a great girl to work with."

Laverne started showing signs of decline a month ago. Radiographs and ultrasounds showed the aging dolphin had a buildup of fluid accumulating in her abdominal cavity.

The dolphin stopped eating on Friday. Her trainers became encouraged when she stabled off over the weekend, but she lost her battle several days later after vets became more aggressive in therapy.

She passed away on Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by the people who had worked with her for the last four years.

"She was held by all five of her trainers so that was a very touching moment," Haulena said.

It is believed she died of a twisted intestine after a loop of her bowel twisted off and cut off circulation to itself.

"So this bowel died very quickly, releasing bacteria and toxins into her abdominal cavity and that set off a very bad infection," Haulena said.

A necropsy will be performed at the Provincial Animal Health Laboratory, and results are expected within a few weeks.


SOURCE: http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090521/BC_dolphin_dies_aquarium_090521/20090521?hub=TopStories

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Dolly and Dumisa to Move to Ocean Park

South African dolphins bound for Ocean Park

Two dolphins, a father and daughter pair, from the Bayworld marine park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa soon will be headed for Ocean Park. They are Domino, the 18-year-old father and 4-year-old Dumisa. The younger dolphin is rapidly approaching maturity and officials at Bayworld want to ensure that she does not breed with her parent.

As these are the only remaining dolphins at the South African facility they will have to be moved. The consensus is that Ocean Park in Hong Kong would be the best facility for these two dolphins, said Bayworld director Sylvia van Zyl. "The move to Ocean Park will allow us to separate the dolphins, place them in viable social environments and once they are comfortable, allow them to breed with unrelated dolphins of the same species," she added.

SOURCE: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hkedition/2009-03/28/content_7625295.htm

Monday, 11 May 2009

Second Successful Porpoise Birth in Captivity

Amber, a porpoise living at the Harderwijk dolphin centre in the Netherlands, has given birth to a calf this spring, making her the second porpoise ever to give birth in captivity.


Visitors are now gathering to come and see the calf, which has been given the name Kwin.



Picture is GNU


“Mum Amber and her baby, Kwin, are doing fine,” the centre said in a statement on Thursday.


The sex of the calf has not yet been determined and will continue remain unknown for several weeks. Another conundrum concerns the paternity of the calf. According to the dolphin centre, two male porpoises were swimming with Amber at the time of conception and any of them may be Kwin’s father.

The very first porpoise ever to give birth in captivity lives in Denmark where it had a calf in 2007 and the Harderwijk dolphin centre is now enlisting the aid of Danish porpoise keepers to make sure that baby Kwin is properly cared for.


“As we don’t know much about newborn porpoises, a team of Danish minders has come to help us,” the centre says in its statement.


The porpoise is a small ocean-dwelling mammal related to whales and dolphins. There are six recognized species of porpoise and their common ancestor is believed to have diverged from the dolphins roughly 15 million years ago. Porpoises are not as large as dolphins and have stouter bodies with small, rounded heads. Compared to dolphins, wild porpoises bear young more quickly and some species give birth to a calf as often as once a year. However, porpoises do not adapt to life in captivity as well as dolphins do and successful reproduction in zoos is therefore extremely rare.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Shedd Lags Move to Miami Seaquarium

Two of the Shedd Aquarium's Pacific White-sided Dolphins, Kri and Tique, have moved to the Miami Seaquarium as part of a cooperative breeding loan between the two facilities. The Shedd Aquarium received a young female named Ohana in exchange. The purpose of this move was to expose the two females to Seaquarium's proven male, Li'i!

SourcE: Ceta Base
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