CHICAGO – It’s a boy!
The Shedd Aquarium today revealed its two-week old Pacific white-sided dolphin calf is a male.
He was born on Memorial Day and is gaining weight and surpassing developmental milestones, according to a news release from the Shedd.
He is also showing independence from his mother, Piquet.
“While our staff has not confirmed his gender through a physical exam, our extensive experience and knowledge of the species helped us to identify the young calf as a male,” said Caryn Poll, section chief of medicine at Shedd.
Male and female dolphin genitalia are all internal with one subtle difference – a male has two urogenital and gastrointestinal tract openings, and a female has only one, according to the release.
During the calf’s first few days, he spent every swimming moment glued to Piquet’s side. As mother becomes more comfortable, and he grows more curious, the pair has spent a few moments apart throughout the day.
“Piquet and her calf are building a strong bond, so Shedd trainers have been able to give mom a well-deserved break by re-introducing her training sessions,” said Ken Ramirez, executive vice president of animal care and training.
“Our daily sessions give her calf a chance to practice his diving and buoyancy, and build his muscles. We are extremely proud of Piquet’s mothering skills and the calf’s progression, but we remain cautiously optimistic during these critical first weeks of development.”