After about three hours of labor, Katrl the 28-year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin gave birth to her calf at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium last week.
In a video, recorded by Shedd Aquarium videographer Sam Cejtin, we see the moment the calf’s tail pops out of Mom as well as the baby’s first breath. (It’s just as incredible to watch as the baby giraffe born at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Sydney.)
“As soon as those little tail flukes appear, your heart begins to race, and you know it’s only a matter of time before you are about to witness something incredibly amazing,” Lisa Takaki with the Shedd Aquarium said in a statement. “To watch a dolphin be born is beautiful, but to also see its natural instincts fully take over in a matter of seconds as it kicks its tail to propel its little body to the surface to take its first breath is overwhelmingly emotional.”
The unnamed calf, who was born at 25 pounds and around 3 feet, quickly bonded with Katrl. The mama dolphin knew exactly what to do to care for her little one, which isn’t always the case for first-time animal mothers.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the job Katrl is doing as a new mother, showing signs of protectiveness by steering her calf away from the sides of the habitat and helping to guide it into swimming position to conserve its energy reserves,” Takaki said.
Watch the mom and baby’s incredible first minutes together — don’t worry, it’s not too graphic! And please SHARE if you’re stunned by this remarkable marine life moment!
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