Photo: Chicago Zoological Society
One of the Brookfield Zoo's bottlenose dolphins has given birth to a calf, and the video of the female being born tail-first is surprisingly mesmerizing.
The mother, 26-year-old Allie, went into labor around 9 a.m. Friday morning, and by 11 a.m., her 40-pound, three-foot-long calf was swimming alongside her. Another pregnant dolphin, Tapeko, swam in sync with Allie for much of the labor process. As soon as the yet-unnamed calf was born, the three headed to the surface for a quick breath.
This is the third calf for Allie, and zoo officials say that so far, the mother-daughter pair seem to be bonding well. Dolphin shows and the Seven Seas underwater viewing area will be closed until further notice as staff monitors the calf and observes the dolphin group's dynamics. At least two other bottlenose dolphin calves are expected at the zoo this year.
Watch the live birth video below. If you've never seen a dolphin deliver a calf before—and, really, why would you have—it's quite graceful and actually kind of beautiful.
Update: The baby dolphin died less than a week after it was born. So sad.