Maya and Spirit, two of our Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, are both due this spring! The two dolphins are half-sisters and were both born here at the Aquarium nine years ago. This is the first pregnancy for both Maya and Spirit, so our animal health staff have been monitoring them very closely to ensure they receive the best care possible during pregnancy.
In addition to frequent medical exams, a group of more than 50 volunteers and staff members are currently conducting daily eight-hour observations on Maya and Spirit. Observers use hand-held palm pilots in order to record target behaviors as they see them. They look for a variety of things when observing: They record which of the other animals they spend time with, signs of belly movement and, most importantly, arches and crunches. Arches and crunches are pronounced, deliberate stretches that increase in frequency the closer we get to the births. The calves are expected to arrive in late April or early May, so 24/7 observations on the dolphins will begin in just a few weeks.
This short video will give you a closer look into these dolphin pregnancies:
Check back here for more updates as we get closer to the births!