Today, Shedd Aquarium revealed the winning name for the youngest member of the dolphin pod at Shedd, chosen by fourth grade Chicago learners, is Harmony. The aquarium partnered with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and Children First Fund (CFF), allowing classrooms across the city of Chicago to cast their votes on a list of pre-selected names. The naming is part of a larger effort by Shedd to bring joy and inspiration to educators and students virtually as they navigate an unprecedented year for learning. For the aquarium, the winning name represents the balance of humans and animals living in harmony on our shared blue planet.
As part of the aquarium’s ongoing commitment to learning experiences, Shedd will distribute new online resources and activities that align with the fourth-grade science curriculum, Amplify, in both English and Spanish. Further, 16 CPS classrooms will also enjoy a special virtual field trip to the aquarium to meet the dolphin calf they helped to name and speak with the biologists, veterinarians and caretakers who care for the calf.
Five-month-old Harmony, who has more than doubled in size since birth and weighs a healthy 100 pounds, continues to achieve important milestones like bonding with mom Katrl, nursing, socializing with the rest of the dolphin pod, eating solid fish, and more. The next milestone for the calf will be weaning, which is expected to begin around the six-month to one-year marker. While she is still spotted most frequently with mom swimming together and occasionally nursing, Harmony has already started interacting with the animal care team at Shedd and participating in training and enrichment sessions.
Harmony and the rest of the Pacific white-sided dolphins at Shedd provide a rare opportunity for guests to experience, connect with and care about this species of dolphin that they would likely never see otherwise in the wild. Shedd Aquarium has recently reopened its doors, so guests can visit the Abbott Oceanarium to come face-to-face with the dolphins. For those who aren’t ready to make a visit to the building, there are still several ways to connect with the aquatic animals at Shedd, including virtual animal encounters, virtual sleepovers and virtual mini camps for a remote learning opportunity for K-5 kids.
Guests can continue to stay connected to Shedd and the dolphins that call the aquarium home through updates on the website, sheddaquarium.org/, and social media accounts through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the calf: On Aug. 31, 2020, Katrl (kuh-TREHL) whose name means “to breathe air,” a 33-year-old Pacific white-sided dolphin, delivered a calf at around 6:20 a.m. The now five-month-old female dolphin calf has a name – Harmony.
About Pacific white-sided dolphins: Found in the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean, Pacific white-sided dolphins are distinguished by their black backs, gray sides and white bellies. A suspender-like stripe runs down each side. Nicknamed “lags” after their unwieldy scientific name (Lagenorhynchus obliquidens), Pacific white-sided dolphins are known for their amazing aerial abilities and are among the fastest swimmers in the ocean, clocking in at 25 miles per hour.
VISUALS: High-resolution visuals are available for download: https://personal.filesanywhere.com/fs/v.aspx?v=8e6b66895e6772bda09f.
Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez
Video credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Sam Cejtin