HONOLULU, July 31 /PRNewswire/ -- On July 6, 2009, Sea Life Park welcomed the newest addition to its ohana (Hawaiian for family) as Hi'iaka, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
The baby has been named Waiohakaupo, Hawaiian for joyous life and breath of the waters of Kaupo (name of beach fronting Sea Life Park).
Weighing approximately 40 to 45 pounds and measuring 45 inches in length, Waiohakaupo has been spending her time at mom's side nursing on a regular schedule around-the-clock under the close care and supervision of the Park staff.
"Both mother and calf are doing well," said Jesus Bravo, general manager of Sea Life Park. "They are happy and everything suits them - their living conditions, the quantity and quality of food, and the love and attention of our staff."
Sea Life Park celebrated the birth of Waiohakaupo with a special Hawaiian blessing ceremony on Thursday, July 30th. "We've kept the good news under wraps for a few weeks to allow mother and child the privacy they need to stay healthy and strong," said Bravo.
Starting today, the Park will be offering special guided visits for guests to see the new baby dolphin
The pregnancy was part of a planned breeding program instituted by Sea Life Park and once it was confirmed that Hi'iaka had become pregnant, immediate care and monitoring was given on a daily basis throughout her one-year pregnancy.
"So far, the bond between Hi'iaka and her calf continues to strengthen," said Jeff Pawloski, curator. "Like any new mother, she's proud of her new baby and we are also proud and honored to have her be a part of our animal family."
According to Pawloski, Waiohakaupo was born at 8:26 a.m. after a very short labor. "Hi'iaka is an experienced mom and the birth went very smoothly."
The success of the program is a result of a nurturing environment that includes veterinary supervision, nutrition and a large seawater pool for the mother and baby.
Sea Life Park Hawaii offers a variety of marine-life shows, exhibits and educational programs for all ages and is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Among its most popular features are the swim-with-dolphin programs. The Park is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. Sea Life Park Hawaii is owned and operated by Parques Reunidos Group. For more information, visit the Park's Web site at www.sealifeparkhawaii.com.