The Pacific white-sided dolphin born at the Shedd Aquarium earlier this week is a boy — and apparently considerate of hockey fans.
Officials announced the dolphin’s gender on Friday as the media was invited to view the new arrival for the first time since he was born early Monday.
Actually, noted Tim Binder, the Shedd’s executive vice president of animal care, it appeared the calf might arrive even earlier.
PHOTOS: See more pictures of the baby dolphin’s coming-out party
“We thought she was going into labor on Saturday, so we all came in while the Hawks were playing,” Binder said, referring to the Chicago Blackhawks’ first game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
“But she decided she wasn’t going to do that, so we got to watch the end of the game.”
Since he arrived early Monday, Binder explained, the calf already has passed some key developmental hurdles, according to Shedd officials. They say he’s taken his first breath, bonded with his mom, Piquet, has successfully nursed and is learning to slipstream. That’s a swimming technique that conserves his energy by swimming in his mother’s wake.
At birth, the healthy calf was estimated to be 3 feet long and weigh about 28 pounds. While he and his mother were bonding this past week, they were kept off exhibit and under 24-hour observation by the aquarium’s marine mammal and animal health teams, officials said.
This is Piquet’s second calf. The 27-year-old mom’s first calf, another boy, was Sagu. He was born in 2012 and still lives at the Shedd.
Shedd Aquarium officials on Friday gave the media a first in-person look at their new dolphin calf. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times