Baby dolphin born, then dies at Brookfield Zoo

Dolphin shows canceled and underwater exhibit closed until further notice


By Lindsey Riley


Allie, a 26-year-old bottlenose dolphin, gave birth to a female calf on Aug. 2 around 11 a.m., but the baby died Thursday morning "after a sudden and rapid decline," Brookfield Zoo announced late Thursday afternoon.

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

Allie is an experienced mom, having delivered two calves before. Her pregnancy was confirmed last fall and over the past 12 months, the zoo's veterinary staff monitored her closely and conducted routine ultrasound exams. Because Allie cooperated so well with the staff, they were able to give her the best possible care.

"Allie's pregnancy progressed normally, and she has been provided proper nutrition and veterinary care throughout her pregnancy," said Rita Stacey, curator of marine mammals for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages the zoo.

"Young calves can fade extremely quickly, so milestones are tracked around the clock," said Michael Adkesson, DVM, DACZM, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, in a news release. "We became increasingly concerned this morning when we noticed that the calf was showing signs of weakening."

Veterinarians intervened, providing the calf with supportive care and treatments. But the calf continued to decline and efforts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful.

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