We are delighted to announce that Piquet, one of the Pacific white-sided dolphins at Shedd Aquarium, is pregnant and due to deliver in fall. The 31-year-old dolphin is an experienced mother, having previously given birth to two healthy calves at Shedd – Sagu, born in 2012, and Makoa, born in 2015.
Our veterinary and animal care teams report that Piquet and her developing calf are progressing exactly as they should. They will provide her with any prenatal attention she may require in addition to the excellent care that is standard for all Shedd’s animals.
We are also anticipating the birth of beluga whale Mauyak’s calf in the next month or two. The last time Mauyak and Piquet shared the spotlight like this was in 2012, when Kimalu, currently our most recent beluga calf, was born. You can see Kimalu, Sagu and Makoa at Shedd, where they continue to thrive.
Every birth at Shedd offers us an opportunity to add to our understanding of the aquatic world. Because Pacific white-sided dolphins are difficult to follow and study in the wild, readily observed and monitored pregnancies and births at Shedd offer our scientists—and ultimately the zoological community—rare insights into the reproductive biology of this species. The knowledge we gain can inform how we care for dolphins in the zoological population and how we protect their counterparts in the wild.
Piquet’s everyday activities won’t change much in the months before the birth. She’ll swim with the other dolphins, including her two offspring, engage with the care staff and guests, and participate in sessions as she chooses. She will have more frequent visits from our veterinary team for regular checkups, which include ultrasounds to track the development of the calf.
Watch for updates on both mothers-to-be and visit Shedd often to look below the water’s surface and follow the progress of their pregnancies with us.