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Loss of A Newborn Dolphin Calf

2016-06-22

Ocean Park is saddened to announce the loss of a newborn bottlenose dolphin calf just minutes after it was born today.
 
While necropsy did not reveal inborn anomalies, the calf was behaviourally impaired, showing only tentative swimming motions and less than adequate breathing. The newborn male calf stopped swimming and failed to thrive after taking only several shallow breaths.
 
The calf’s mother is a 15-year old dolphin who is now staying at the Park's Marine Mammal Breeding and Research Centre and in the company of her usual mates.  She is eating normally and her condition is stable. She will be closely monitored for the next few days.
 
While the death of a newborn is a particularly sad event, the first moments in life are a delicate event and not all foetuses are able to thrive in the outside world.  The same species has been extensively studied in Western Australia in the wild where 29% of dolphins born in the wild do not survive beyond their first year, and overall 44% of calves do not survive to three years of age (Mann et al 2000).
 
The Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has been notified of the calf’s death.