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Bottlenose dolphin born at SeaWorld

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Melanie, a 700-pound bottlenose dolphin, swims with her calf shortly after giving birth Monday at Dolphin Amphitheater at SeaWorld.

It wasn’t “Day of the Dolphin” on Monday afternoon but “Day of the Baby Dolphin” at SeaWorld as a 700-pound bottlenose dolphin gave birth to a calf weighing about 40 pounds.

After a 12-month gestation period, the calf was born at 4:37 p.m. at Dolphin Amphitheater.

The calf and 29-year-old mother Melanie each appear to be in good health, with SeaWorld officials saying they are swimming together and bonding.

As with any birth, the first few days are critical and SeaWorld’s animal care and veterinary teams are monitoring the baby and mother.

“All last night we watched the baby closely, (it is) swimming strongly, nursing a ton, and Melanie is doing excellent,” said Brian Rokeach, senior dolphin trainer. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

The calf, whose gender will be determined through DNA tests in the coming weeks, is Melanie’s third. Her first calf was born in 1998 and her second was born in 2000. According to researchers, female dolphins up to 48 years of age can successfully give birth and raise young.

SeaWorld officials describe Melanie as a very good and nurturing mother.

Eighty-two dolphin calves have been born since SeaWorld opened 54 years ago. The last birth was in 2015.

Update: Late Friday afternoon, Nov. 9, Seaworld announced that DNA tests show the new-born is a boy.

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rob.nikolewski@sduniontribune.com

(619) 293-1251 Twitter: @robnikolewski