Dolphins Celebrate Mothers' Day at Marineland of Florida; Two Dolphin Calves Born in Less Than a Week

A photo accompanies this release, see photo note for more details


MARINELAND, Fla., May 13, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- (WITH PHOTO) Marineland of Florida has welcomed two Atlantic bottlenose dolphin calves. The calves, both female, were born on April 30 and May 5.

The new mothers are Betty and Betty's 13-year-old daughter Dazzle, who was born at Marineland.

"These births are more significant to Marineland than just growing our dolphin family," said Joy Hampp, executive director of operations at Marineland. "They are a symbol of the rebirth of Marineland!"

The pioneer of American marine-life theme parks, Marineland of Florida is the predecessor of today's modern aquariums and other ocean-oriented parks. The calves arrived as major renovation is underway to upgrade the 64-year-old Oceanarium and surrounding 43 acres. The $150 million project is the innovation of developer Jim Jacoby, CEO of Atlanta-based Jacoby Development, Inc. The multi-year project will restore and upgrade the Park's original features, including the Oceanarium, where dolphins and other sea life have thrilled families since 1938. Also planned is a research- and recreation-centered residential and resort community, and the world's first marine veterinary school to be built at the University of Florida's Whitney Labs, a leading marine biotechnology research center.

 Dazzle's Baby:

 When:   Tuesday, April 30 at 9:00 a.m.
 Mom:    Dazzle, who was born at Marineland April 4, 1989. Dazzle's
         parents are Davy, now living at Sea World, and Betty, who
         resides at Marineland. 
 Father: Chubby, arrived at Marineland in 1971, approximately 33 years

 Betty's Baby:

 When:   Sunday, May 5, around 11:00 a.m.
 Mom:    Betty, who arrived at Marineland on Sept. 23, 1972. Betty is
         estimated to be 34 years old.
 Father: Chubby.

 Dolphin maternity facts: 

  * Gestation in dolphins is 12 months. 

  * Calves are generally born tail first so that the blowhole remains
    safely inside the mother until the calf is free. 

  * Newborns are about four feet long and weigh 35-45 pounds.

  * Immediately after birth, the calf swims to the surface for its
    first breath. 

  * Calves will nurse every 15 to 20 minutes, 24 hours a day. The 
    mother's nipples are tucked inside her body, to reduce drag. The
    calf nuzzles a mammary with its rostrum or forehead until the
    nipple pops out, then curls its tongue into a straw shape around
    the nipple to keep seawater from entering its mouth. Nursing may
    continue until the calf is 3 years old, although the calf will 
    start eating fish at 4 to 6 months of age. 

  * The umbilical cord severs at birth and will eventually become a
    belly button.

  * Fathers do not take any role in the birth or rearing of the calf.

Marineland of Florida is located 20 minutes south of St. Augustine on the beach between the Matanzas River and the Atlantic Ocean. The seven-acre park is home to hundreds of ocean species, the most well known include Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, California sea lions and Black-Footed penguins from South Africa. Marineland is open daily 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Closed Tuesday.) Contact information: 888-279-9194,

 PHOTO NOTE: Photo available at
 CAPTION: Mother dolphin (Betty) and her calf at Marineland of Florida
          Photo Credit: Linda Williams of Marineland


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