Wild Dolphin Updates
Bundle, Parcel and Bundle’s new calf (front) swimming together.
The Birth of Bundle’s Second Baby
With our last few updates, we have been gearing up for the arrival of new calves in our study area. As of February 28, we are excited to announce the birth of Bundle’s second calf! This newborn, or young of year, was first spotted swimming with its mother and sister, Parcel, off Clearwater Beach. It is common for calves who have recently moved away from their mothers to return and associate briefly with newborn siblings for a brief time after their birth, similar to how college freshman often visit home while they are gaining their independence.
A Newborn Calf in Its First Year
As previously discussed, Bundle’s calf’s fetal folds were a confirmation that this calf was a newborn. The trio has been observed multiple times together and we hope that it will have a successful first year.
The first year of life is the most vulnerable for a dolphin calf as they lack most basic survival skills when born. During this time, it will learn skills such as swimming, socialization with other dolphins, and various environmental interactions. It will also be nursing from its mother, therefore Bundle will not only be investing a lot of energy in raising her new calf, but also in maintaining her own health in order to provide her calf the nutrition it needs for survival.
Since this calf’s birth, we have not observed other newborn dolphins in the area, although we expect more will arrive in April.
Matilda’s Calf Seen Again
Calf spotting! We recently saw another dolphin calf that had not been observed by our Dorsal ID Team since September! It was spotted splashing around, playing with blades of grass, and speed swimming!
Matilda’s calf spyhopping above the water.
On March 30, through our opportunistic dorsal identification study on Dolphin Adventure Tour, we had a rare sighting with Matilda and her calf! Matilda’s calf was observed spy hopping, speed swimming, and playfully tossing blades of grass into the air. Matilda was first sighted in 2014, and her calf was first sighted in September of 2018. Since the calf’s birth, it had only been sighted once before this time!
Learn more about our local wild dolphin population on a Dolphin Adventure Tour.
Contributed by Savannah Gandee & Chelsea Parsons, CMA Education Team.
Research conducted and photographs collected under the NMFS Scientific Research Permit No. 19749.