The newest addition to The Mirage’s family of bottlenose dolphins is a healthy male calf born Saturday, Aug. 20 to Huf n Puf, who was born at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in March 2000. The birth of this calf marks the second time within seven weeks that a dolphin has given birth at the facility.
Duchess, matriarch of the dolphin family and Huf n Puf’s mother, gave birth to a male on July 3 at the Dolphin Habitat. The energetic calf named K2 can be seen playing with his new “pool mate.”
“We’re delighted to welcome a second healthy calf to our family and invite guests to view not one, but two calves as they learn about how our conservation efforts today will help preserve these beautiful animals in the wild for future generations to enjoy,” said David Blasko, director of animal care at The Mirage. “The Dolphin Habitat staff takes incredible pride in our continuing efforts to expand the bottlenose gene pool while teaching the world about these animals’ remarkable capabilities.”
Huf n Puf and her calf remain in the Birthing and Research pool which is open to public viewing during regular operational hours of the Dolphin Habitat. Alongside the new mother and calf are Duchess, K2 and Huf n Puf’s daughter, Bella, who was born Sept. 6, 2008. The calf’s father, Lightning, is located in an adjacent pool.
Dolphin calves remain very delicate throughout their entire first year of life and the Animal Care staff will continue to monitor their development as they bond with their mothers, nursing and testing their independence.
Plans for naming the new calf will be announced at a later date.
The Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA), an international association dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study and wildlife presentations.
Four male dolphins are on long-term loan to The Mirage as part of cooperative agreements with other AMMPA member facilities. The agreements, combined with the sensitivity and outstanding professional care by the Dolphin Habitat staff, make possible the ongoing success of the dolphin breeding program at The Mirage.
Research confirms that seeing living, breathing animals up close or interacting with them at AMMPA member facilities promotes a strong personal connection between the public and the animals. One of two independent research studies published in 2010 concludes that guests viewing dolphins show a demonstrated increase in conservation-related knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions immediately following their experience. In a follow-up interview three months later, guests reported that they were engaging in more conservation-related behavior than they did before their dolphin experience.
Children take special delight in visiting the dolphins and new calves. As part of a continuing arrangement with the Clark County School District, The Mirage welcomes thousands of young students each year to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat during school field trips, at no charge, to view the animals up close.
For admission prices, group reservations and hours of operation for Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage, call (702) 791-7188 or visit www.mirage.com.