The Brookfield Zoo in Illinois is about to have a blessed event. Their favorite bottlenose dolphin, Tapeko, is 29 years old and is about to become a mother for third time. Her pregnancy has been confirmed after she underwent an ultrasound scan at the zoo.
The dolphin is a happy mother-to-be. She cooperated fully with the veterinary staff for the belly-up procedure in exchange for either a fishy reward or playtime with a favorite toy. She will need future monitoring as her fetus develops and the entire pregnancy lasts for 12 months.
This time represents her third pregnancy as Tapeko has two daughters that live with her at the zoo: Noelani, aged seven and Allison, five. She is a busy multi-tasking dolphin mother and also served as surrogate mama to her grandson when one of her daughters could not properly care for her calf. The proud father of this new calf is Chinook, aged 28, and the baby is due in the fall.
Both animals and trainers respect each other at the Brookfield Zoo; otherwise the dolphin would never have allowed the ultrasound. Trust is earned and perhaps we humans could learn more about it by watching these wonderful animals interact with their trainers and each other.
Come and visit Tapeko if you are in the area and if you do, don’t forget to say hello to the new baby and her other grown children. In true family dynamic fashion, they don’t like to be ignored.