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Commerson's dolphin calf dies at Aquatica

Dolphin dies minutes after birth at SeaWorld water park

Ringer the Commerson's dolphin, pictured here, is pregnant.
Ringer the Commerson's dolphin, pictured here, is pregnant. (SeaWorld Aquatica)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Commerson's dolphin calf died Sunday night a few minutes after being born at SeaWorld's water park, Aquatica.

The calf's mother, Ringer, a 16-year-old Commerson's dolphin, was on birth control before she became pregnant.

Before giving birth, Ringer had been under 24 hour observation by her caretakers, according to SeaWorld.

The dolphin gave birth after 8 p.m. Sunday.

"We were all hoping for the best outcome for her and her calf, and had all the support we could provide in place," a statement from SeaWorld read. "The team responded immediately when the calf began to show signs of distress, a few minutes after birth, but unfortunately were unable to resuscitate the calf."

Ringer had four previous unsuccessful pregnancies before she came to the Florida park. She was born at SeaWorld San Diego and was moved to Orlando in January 2016.

“Given her age and the previous unsuccessful pregnancies, Ringer had been on contraceptives for several years,” Park officials said. “This pregnancy was unexpected and our SeaWorld animal care and veterinary teams monitored her health and well-being very closely throughout her entire pregnancy.”

A clear water slide at SeaWorld's Aquatica runs through the habitat that Ringer shares with the park's other dolphins. The breed is known for its black-and-white markings that mimic those of a killer whale.

SeaWorld officials said Ringer is doing well despite the loss of her baby and is still under 24-hour observation. She is not on display at the park.

PETA slammed SeaWorld earlier this month after news of the dolphin's pregnancy came out.

The animal rights group Monday described the dolphin calf's death  was not surprising because of Ringer's history of failed pregnancies. PETA also accused SeaWorld of inbreeding Commerson's dolphins.

“Two of the three male Commerson's dolphins at this park are related to this calf's mother, yet SeaWorld allowed her to become pregnant again, despite her history of inbreeding and failed pregnancies,” PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange said in an email. 

A necropsy, which is an animal autopsy, will be performed on the dolphin calf to determine the cause of death.


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