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It's a boy! Shedd's baby dolphin 2 weeks old

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The new baby dolphin at Shedd Aquarium doesn't have a name yet, but the staff might consider calling him ''Lucky.''

That's because his chances of survival were slim. But the Pacific white-sided dolphin calf is doing just fine. And so is his mom, Piquet.

The baby boy just turned 2-weeks old and skips the scale at about 30 pounds. Dolphin births are risky business, but Shedd staffers say things couldn't be going any better.

"There's a lot of milestones we look for. We look for nursing right after birth. We look for weight gain which we're seeing. We look for independence from the calf. We look for him to be able to swim on his own, dive on his down. He's doing all of those things," Kim Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training, said.

Zoo officials determined the calf was male while he was nursing.

At 24, Piquet is a first time mom. For her to have a healthy calf is very surprising; in the wild about 90-percent of all calves born to first time moms don't survive. Dolphins learn from other dolphins how to raise a baby, which is why Piquet went to Florida.

"We sent her to Miami on a little vacation where she became pregnant. And while she was there she was swimming with another mother and calf and she got to see that," Ramirez said.

And that's helping this little guy thrive.

"He's got lots of energy. He swims off on his own. Very independent," Ramirez said.

And that's good, according to the Shedd staff. It also means Piquet is back in her training sessions -- and the calf is doing well keeping up and learning to dive and build his muscles.

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