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Brookfield Zoo dolphin calf, born last week, has died

Published: Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 1:02 p.m. CDT • Updated: Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013 2:59 p.m. CDT
(Photo provided by the Chicago Zoological Society)
Allie, a 26-year-old bottle nose dolphin at the Brookfield zoo, recently gave birth to a female calf. Zoo officials reported Thursday evening that the calf has died.

BROOKFIELD – Officials at the Brookfield Zoo announced Thursday that a female dolphin calf born Aug. 2 has died.

The Brookfield Zoo announced the birth of the calf to Allie, a 26-year-old bottle nose dolphin, earlier this week. The unnamed baby was born at about 11 a.m. Aug. 2 and died Thursday morning.

A necropsy (animal autopsy) is pending, according to a news release.

"This was devastating to everyone in our zoo family, but particularly to the dolphin staff," said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of collections and animal care for the Chicago Zoological Society. "Our experienced veterinary and marine mammal staff provided the best possible care to the calf’s 26-year-old mother, Allie, throughout her pregnancy. Our primary concern now is for the well-being of Allie, who is being monitored closely."

According to the release, the calf began a sudden and rapid decline on Wednesday. The zoo's dolphin staff was "cautiously optimistic" as the calf began nursing and swimming with its mother. Late Wednesday and early Thursday, zoo staff reported that the frequency of the calf's nursing was down.

The calf's health continued to decline. Staff stepped in and began providing CPR in an attempt to resuscitate her, but efforts were unsuccessful and the calf passed away.

According to the release, young calves can fade quickly.

The release cited studies from a 43-year-old wild dolphin research program in Sarasota,  Fla., that show that moralities of neonatal calves during the first 30 days of life account for the largest rate of loss to dolphin populations in the wild.

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