Akeakamai's Baby Page

Thanks to Erin Siebert, here's the latest update on Akeakamai's 39 pound baby girl! Pictures are curtosy of Robert Uyeyama.

From: "Erin Siebert"
Date: Mon Apr 22, 2002 12:21:34 AM US/Pacific
To: "Rob Harrison" <rob@dolphinleap.com>
Subject: RE: Akeakamai sketch

Hi Rob,

I really like your Ake sketch, it's very cute :)

A lot has happened since I wrote you last. Everything's been extremely crazy and busy since the birth, and none of us have got much sleep. First off, most importantly, both ake and the calf are alive and healthy. (the baby is a girl) Ake passed the placenta shortly after I emailed you last. After that, she started eating again, and looked like she was feeling a heck of a lot better. (btw, "off feed" means she was not eating when offered fish). Now comes the not-so-good news. Because Ake is an inexperienced mother, she really didn't know what to do with the calf after it was born.

She was pretty weirded out by the calf, and was reluctant to go near it.

Baby's first breath (look down everyone!)

Photo - Robert Uyeyama

Also, the calf did not seem to have any instinct to follow Ake. So, we had tons of people doing obs for the first 24 hours, and also tried doing the nursing behaviors w/ Ake that we had trained (the slow swim around the perimiter of the tank, with her body at an angle to facilitate nursing). If the baby would have tried to follow her at this point, she probably would have been able to nurse. But, unfortunately the baby did not try to follow. By the end of the night last night, Ake was starting to follow the calf sometimes, and was showing a little interest... but just had no idea what to do. The calf started to "bond" with the holding tank wall instead of Ake, and spent most of her time rubbing on the wall. Calves can only survive about 48 hours without nursing. So, after 24 hours, we had to make a decision. (Sam Dover, one of the head Sea World vets flew out before Ake gave birth to help in decison making). The only option we had was to start feeding the calf ourselves. (btw, for the birth, Ake was gated alone in the mauka tank, with phoe and hiapo in the Makai tank). So, we drained the Mauka tank and put Ake in a stretcher, and milked her. Then we had to put Ake in the Makai tank, in order to be able to work with the calf safely. We've been tube-feeding the calf Ake's milk, and offering a bottle afterwards, in case she's not full. Eventually we hope to be able to just bottle feed her.

Photo - Robert Uyeyama

So, that's basiclally it. If the calf survives, we all will have to be her parents. She needs to be fed about once an hour, so this is not going to be easy... but we're all going to do everything we can. She seems to enjoy human company, and Adam has been swimmig with her and rubbing her so she doesn't get lonely (we're keeping the water about waist-deep in the mauka tank). Everything is still up in the air right now, but people will probably spend time in the tank swimming with the calf to keep her company in the months ahead. The calf is big, and very healthy and stong... and so the situation is promising. Dolphin calves have been sucessfully handraised before, however the calf's survial is by no means certain. But you can be sure we'll do everyting we possably can :).

All mammals have hair... here's what every dolphin is born with

Photo - Robert Uyeyama

The calf is beautiful. She's dark grey on her back, and has a light colored belly (her coloration looks most like Phoenix). Her head and face is shaped like Hiapo's, but the markings on her melon look more like Ake. People say her tail looks just like Elele's. She weighs 39 pounds, which is heavy for a newborn. She's a great swimmer, and learned very quickly to avoid bumping into the walls and windows. We took pitures, and I will try to send you some when I get the chance.

Well, I've gotta get going. Let me know if you have any questions.


From: Erin Siebert
Date: Sat Apr 20, 2002 03:34:13 PM US/Pacific
To: Rob Harrison <rob@dolphinleap.com>
Subject: Re: ake

Great news! Ake gave birth to a strong, healthy baby dolphin at 6:40 am.
The baby's swimming very well. Ake is still in the process of expelling
her placenta... so they're not spending too much time together yet. The
birth actually ended up being relatively quick and easy for ake.. there
was only an hour an a half between flukes out and birth. gotta go, but I'll
keep you updated.


From: "Erin Siebert"
Date: Fri Apr 19, 2002 08:14:18 PM US/Pacific
To: Rob Harrison <rob@dolphinleap.com>
Subject: Re: ake

just a little update. Ake's off feed now, and she's had a couple major
bouts of contractions (one last night, and one this afternoon (about a
half hour long))... where she does spiral swims and jumps, backwards
swims, sumursaults, headstands, and lots of headjerking, squalking
and thrashing. It looks so painful! :( So the baby should be coming any
time now... hopefully soon. I have some pictures.. I'll scan them in when
I get a chance.


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