The National Aquarium’s dolphin colony is a dynamic, close-knit group that is made up of mostly mothers! Nani, Chesapeake and Jade are mothers to three of our young dolphins. Nani gave birth to Beau in 2005, and Foster was born to Jade in 2007. Bayley was born to Chesapeake in 2008 and she will be 3 years old tomorrow!
Spirit and Maya were also born here at the Aquarium in 2001, and this is the first year they produced calves. In late June, we shared the sad news of the loss of these two dolphin calves. The loss of the calves proved to be upsetting and stressful not only for the staff, but also for the dolphins themselves.
From years of working with these animals, we know that dolphins are very social animals. When something of this nature disrupts the group, the animals get upset. In this case, the moms were distressed, which in turn created stress in the entire colony. Social changes can be very upsetting for every dolphin in the group.
The health and welfare of all of our animals is of first importance. In the weeks following the loss of the calves, staff decided that the best thing to do for the dolphins was to discontinue shows and other programs until our Animal Health team and trainers are satisfied that normal social behaviors have returned.