Neonatal critical care and hand-rearing of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) calf

  • Published source details Flower J.E., Langan J.N. & Nevitt B.N. (2018) Neonatal critical care and hand-rearing of a bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) calf. Aquatic Mammals, 44, 482-490.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Breed marine and freshwater mammals in captivity

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Breed marine and freshwater mammals in captivity

    A study in 2013–2017 at a captive facility in the USA (Flower et al. 2018) found that a common bottlenose dolphin Tursiops truncatus calf that was born in captivity and hand-reared survived for at least four years, displayed normal behaviour for the species and successfully joined a dolphin social group at the facility. In 2015, the hand-reared male dolphin (aged 15 months) had fully integrated into a mixed social group at the facility consisting of seven other bottlenose dolphins. In 2017, the hand-reared dolphin (aged four years) was observed to be healthy and displaying normal behaviours (feeding, social interactions). The calf was born in captivity in October 2013, housed in a nursery pool and given intensive medical care after being rejected and injured by its mother. The calf was fed milk and serum from the mother followed by formula via a gastric tube before being weaned onto herring at 4–6 months. At four months old, the calf was gradually reintroduced to other dolphins.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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