14 October 2014

Female bottlenose dolphin at Subic marine park pregnant with second calf

Remember the dolphin at the Ocean Adventure marine theme park here that lost her baby last year? Well, she has another one coming up.

“Vi,” a 12-year-old bottlenose dolphin, was found to be four months’ pregnant last week, a development that park officials said was the direct result of the best possible care and an environment where the animals can socialize normally.

Gail Laule, executive vice president of Ocean Adventure, said in a statement last Friday that Vi is likely to give birth by June next year, hopefully adding yet another calf to the growing cetacean family at the ocean park.

Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates), along with whales and porpoises, belong to the cetacean family and are known to reach sexual maturity from 5 to 14 years old, with females calving every three to six years on the average.

Laule said Vi’s pregnancy is “a very positive development to the public, as it tells us that we are doing the right thing in taking care of our animals.”

Just last month, Laule also announced the birth of another dolphin calf at Ocean Adventure. The calf, a female, was born to “Hali,” an 11-year-old first-time dolphin mother.

Hali’s baby was formally named “Lana” the other week.

Laule said that park officials felt early on that Lana’s arrival foretold of many more births among the dolphins in the facility. “This pregnancy all but proves that to be true,” she added.

Vi first gave birth to a calf in July last year, the first recorded birth by a bottlenose dolphin in captivity in the Philippines. Two weeks later, however, the baby succumbed to some infection associated with an undersized lung, and died.

With Vi expecting for a second time, park officials pointed at it as “a sign of how comfortable [the animals] are in their environment.”

“It’s a very good, positive sign that we have a growing population here at Ocean Adventure,” said Nuno Ramao, the park’s animal training director.

Ocean Adventure CEO Timothy Desmond, meanwhile, said that the successful births within the facility “is a realization of a reproductive program that is integral to any professional zoological facility.” (Henry Empeño, Business Mirror)