Video by KENT NISHIMURA | The Honolulu Advertiser
At Sea Life Park, dolphin mother Hi'iaka gave birth to a healthy girl on July 6.
Today, mom and baby were revealed to the media, with a blessing by kahu Ka'imiloa Dahang to welcome the new arrival.
"We've kept the good news under wraps for a few weeks to allow the mother and child the privacy they need to stay healthy and strong," said Jesus Bravo, general manager.
The baby, yet to be named, will have two names: a Hawaiian name and a Japanese name. The Hawaiian name will be given by kahu Ka'imiloa Dahang. The Japanese name will come from the citizens of Japan, in an upcoming contest. "We want her to have a Hawaiian name for spiritual reasons and a Japanese name to celebrate the strong ties Hawaii has with Japan."
The baby weighed 40-45 pounds at birth and was 45 inches long. She is nursing around-the-clock under the watchful eye of caretakers. Curator Jeff Pawloski said, "Hi'iaka eats 32 pounds of fish per day, a 40% increase because she is nursing."
"Hi'iaka will nurse the baby for two years. Eventually, the baby will be part of the breeding program at Sea Life Park when she reaches maturity at seven to nine years old," said head animal trainer, Andrew Scullion.
Most of the dolphins at the Park were born in captivity. "Out of the 20 dolphins, 65% of them were born here at Sea Life Park," said Pawloski.
In the large pool, Hi'iaka, with her baby swimming closely, swam in circles, joined by her other daughter Lupita and her half-sister, Adela.
Starting on Friday (7/31), Sea Life Park visitors will be allowed to see the baby dolphin on guided tours.
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