Agile and playful: Moskvarium dolphin family’s new calf

Agile and playful: Moskvarium dolphin family’s new calf
The young dolphin calf is now six weeks old. The calf will be released into the public aquarium on 4 August, the 3rd anniversary of the Moskvarium.

Moskvarium at the National Exhibition of Economic Achievements (VDNKh) has a new arrival-a common bottlenose dolphin calf. He was born six weeks ago. The public hasn’t yet seen the calf. He has gained weight from 16 kilos at birth to 25 kilos. The parents are female Lora and male Bosya.

This is the second dolphin calf to be born at Moskvarium. The first was his elder brother Troy who was born in 2015. Moskvarium is home to 19 common bottlenose dolphins, including the newborn calf. Nine of them are permanent performers in water shows. The facility houses vast aquaria and pools, the largest of which has a capacity of over 3 million litres of sea water.

“The baby dolphin is growing healthy, agile and very playful. He swims at high speed and never falls behind his mother Lora. Now he is learning to swim on his back. As soon as he gets hungry, he beats his nose against his mother’s belly, signaling that feeding time has come. As yet, his diet primarily consists of mother’s milk. He will be given adult food – capelin, smelt and Baltic herring –after he turns one,” the Moskvarium press service noted. 

The calf doesn’t have a name yet. In August, Moskvarium visitors will be able to choose it via online voting on the oceanarium’s official website.

“Dolphins have jabbered more and always appear to be smiling since the arrival of the new calf. We believe this is not a coincidence, but an expression of joy. If so, we have further proof that dolphins have a high level of consciousness and intelligence,” the Moskvarium spokesperson added.

The calf will be released into the aquarium with the other dolphins on 4 August, Moskvarium’s anniversary. Apart from the baby dolphin’s first public appearance, the anniversary will also be marked with a festive programme. This will include a 60-minute lecture on the origin of the universe by famous zoologist and TV presenter Nikolai Drozdov starting at 1 pm.

The facility’s second floor will host the Powers of Water science show for the youngest visitors. Other activities will include creative classes and developmental table games. Participation is free, without pre-registration. There is an admission fee for the main exposition. 

Common bottlenose dolphins are among the most intelligent animals on Earth. Each dolphin has a unique whistling style that other members of the pod can recognise. A pod is a large group sometimes of more than a hundred dolphins of the same species. They are fast swimmers, easily reaching speeds of up to 35 km per hour. They can weigh up to 300 kilos. In the wild, they live for about 30 years, and in oceanariums for about 50 years.

Moskvarium opened its doors to the public on 5 August 2015. It is one of Europe’s largest oceanariums located thousands of kilometres away from the coast. It occupies an area of over 53,000 square metres. The aquarium’s capacity exceeds 25 million litres of water. The facility is divided into three sections – the aquarium, the water show area and a centre where visitors can swim with the dolphins. In its three years, over 5 million people have seen Moskvarium sea animal shows. Moskvarium’s population has increased from 8,000 to 12,000. In 2017, it became home to two rare animals listed in the International Red Data Book: the shark ray and the hawksbill sea turtle.