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Photos: Shedd Aquarium Dolphin Gives Birth To Baby Calf

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 1, 2015 7:00PM

The Shedd Aquarium welcomed an adorable baby dolphin into the world early Monday.

Piquet, a 27-year-old female Pacific white-sided dolphin, gave birth to a healthy calf just after midnight June 1. From what we can tell from the photos the Shedd Aquarium passed on, both dolphins have had a busy morning swimming at the aquarium.

The baby weighed in at 28 lbs. at birth and measured 3 feet long. Considering the mom just finished a 12-month-long gestation period, we're impressed. The nursing period is expected to take about a year, according to a Shedd fact sheet, but the young dolphin can begin playing with fish after its first few months of life. The sex of the calf is unknown and it is typical for a dolphin born in captivity to go weeks or months before its sex can be determined.

This is the second birth for Piquet (pronounced pee-KEHT), who gave birth to Sagu, her first calf, in 2012.

There are only about 20 Pacific white-sided dolphins total living in accredited North American zoological facilities, including Piquet and her kin. Shedd Aquarium researchers say they are looking forward to studying the breed more, which is hard to study in the wild. Lii (pronounced Lee-ee), a male Pacific white-sided dolphin from the Miami Seaquarium, is the sire.

Piquet and her new calf will be under 24-hour surveillance, according to a statement from the Shedd, so their health can be monitored.