Baby Dolphin Announcement

Thu, 18 Jul 2019

By Tangalooma Island Resort

Tinkerbell's new baby dolphin arrived at Tangalooma!

This week local favourite Tinkerbell delighted Tangalooma Eco Rangers and guests by introducing her new baby calf to the crowd!

Tinkerbell had continued to visit the nightly dolphin feeding at Tangalooma throughout her pregnancy as staff anxiously awaited the new arrival, so they were overjoyed to see mum and calf both healthy and well.

Mum Tinkerbell, born in the middle of 1990, is 29 years old and is the daughter of Beauty, the first dolphin to be hand fed at Tangalooma by Betty Osborne when they took over the resort in the 1980s. Amazingly this is her sixth calf – having welcomed a new bub every four years since first born Tangles, except for her previous male Calypso, who arrived after only a three-year gap. Swimming close to shore under the watchful eyes of Rangers and guests with her calf right beside her, Tinkerbell was clearly very proud to show off her latest addition to the family.

More than half of newborn calves are born in spring, and it is more unusual for dolphins to give birth in the middle of winter as the cold increases the risk for mother and bub during the birth and early days, although as this is Tinkerbell's 6th calf now, she is a very experienced and capable mother (4th born Luna was born in May during a particularly cold snap). Tinkerbell is also grandmother to Cruze and Sprite from her first born Tangles - to check out the Tangalooma dolphins' family tree, please click here.

These days Tangalooma is regarded as the leading wild dolphin feeding program in the world, with up to 13 dolphins (including the new calf!) now visiting its shores each evening. The Dolphin Care Team, consisting of Eco Rangers and dedicated staff, run the program which operates to strict guidelines to ensure the protection of the dolphins.

The dolphins come into feed, usually arriving just after sunset, and always of their own accord. It is quite normal for any one of them to be absent from the feed on consecutive nights and this is not something to be worried about – they are probably having too much fun in the Bay!

To ensure that the dolphins that visit us do not become dependent, they are only fed between 10% and 20% of their daily food requirement ensuring that they maintain their natural hunting instinct and independence. It is common to see them under the jetty prior to the feed, hunting for fish as the guests arrive. We feed the dolphins a varying diet of fish, although we mostly provision the dolphins herring. Herring are fed to the dolphins as they are a species that is commonly found in the Bay. Dolphins also prefer herring due to their high fat and minimal bone content which make them easier to digest.

For now the new calf will be nursed by mum (this usually lasts for around 12-24 months) and will begin to learn some hunting behaviours in the wild as it gets older, with Eco Rangers careful not to feed the calf until at least 18 months - 24 months old. This is the 2nd calf to be born this year, with Silhouette debuting her newborn back in January. As yet the dolphin is still to be named so watch this space!

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Tangalooma Island Resort

Take the world's 3rd largest sand island…add a splash of sunshine, balmy sea breezes, a dash of discovery and a handful of adventure, and you've got Tangalooma Island Resort. An island oasis, just a 75 minute cruise from Brisbane.

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