We recently transported Chinook, the adult male dolphin that has been at the National Aquarium on breeding loan for the past three years, to the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.
Chinook was loaded into a specially made transport carrier and taken by truck to the airport. He was flown to Chicago with an Aquarium vet and trainer by his side. Upon arrival at Brookfield, he looked great and began to eat fish right away. We heard that he is already showing interest in the female dolphins at Brookfield Zoo!
As part of a dolphin breeding consortium, we work with seven other zoos/aquariums to cooperatively manage and breed our dolphins. Male dolphins are commonly moved from place to place to breed with different female groups. This type of movement – male dolphins moving between groups of females for breeding – is also seen in dolphins in the wild.
While we are excited for Chinook to go on and become a father once more (2-year-old Bayley is his daughter), he will certainly be missed by the National Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Staff. His attempts to gain the attention of our female dolphins were occasionally comical, spinning in front of them in the middle of the pool or making unique vocalizations, and his overall laid-back demeanor made him a pleasure to work with.