Brookfield, Ill.— The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, is sad to announce the death of a male dolphin calf who was born on December 5 to 11-year-old first-time mother Noelani.

“This was devastating to everyone in our zoo family, but particularly to the dolphin staff, who dedicates their lives to the well-being of the animals in their care,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of collections and animal care for the Society. “Our dedicated and experienced veterinary and marine mammal staff provided the best possible care to Noelani throughout her pregnancy.”

It appeared to be a normal birth. Staff are awaiting complete necropsy (animal autopsy) results to determine the cause of death. Noelani is doing well, although staff will continue to monitor her closely for the next 48 to 72 hours. She currently has companionship with her sister Allison.

According to Dr. Randy Wells, who is a leader in the field of wild dolphin research and director of the Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), now in its 45th year, the first year of life is the period when most dolphin calves are lost in the wild.

Although the loss of this calf was extremely upsetting to staff, the Chicago Zoological Society continues to be committed to its dolphin program, which inspires the public to learn about and to take action to protect dolphins globally.