Dolphin Habitat gets new inhabitant

When young Jacob Knipfer arrived at The Mirage’s Dolphin Habitat Monday afternoon, he didn’t expect to see a 3-day-old dolphin swimming next to its mother.

It was the first baby dolphin 8-year-old Jacob had seen — on TV or in person.

“It’s awesome,” said Jacob, who was visiting from Anchorage, Alaska with his family. “Every move its mom makes, it copies it.”

Eleven-year-old Taylor Rieger from Bryan, Texas, peered over the railing to get a peek at the little dolphin.

“It’s cute,” she said.

About 10:40 p.m. Friday night, “Duchess” flipped over in her tank at The Mirage’s Dolphin Habitat and, belly-up, gave birth to a pair of tiny fins, followed by a long, slender body and a small snout.

The roughly 25-pound calf then scrambled to the surface for his first breath, and now members of the public can view him swimming alongside his mother in one of the habitat’s pools at The Mirage.

Officials at the habitat are “cautiously confident” that the newborn will survive to adulthood.

Duchess, who is roughly 30 years old, is an experienced mother with six births to her name, according to the habitat’s curator, Jim Hudson.

Hudson and veterinarians at the habitat have been watching the baby around the clock, and will continue to do so for about a month.

Because successful births in captivity are rare, the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn’t consider a birth successful until a newborn survives for three months.

Hudson said the early signs are good — the calf has been breathing and nursing regularly. They haven’t weighed or handled him, and won’t do so over the next few months unless they need to intervene for his health.

The new addition doesn’t have a name yet, but officials plan to hold a contest later this year asking Clark County School District students to name him.

On Monday, the calf was following in his mother’s wake, swimming clockwise around the pool and coming up for air with her every 30 seconds or so. Occasionally, he would swim away from her for a few feet, then scurry back when he seemed to realize he was drifting.

Christie Hicks, a veterinarian at the habitat, said the newborn’s behavior was dominant like his mother, who assumes the role as the leader of the habitat’s four other dolphins.

“It’s a lot like in the wild,” she said. “You can definitely see their personalities.”

The baby will grow about a pound a day for about six months, when he will likely start eating fish.

The other male dolphins in the exhibit, including the baby’s father, 22-year-old “Lightning,” are being kept in other pools because they’re younger and more “rambunctious,” Hudson said.

But habitat officials are keeping a 10-year-old female in the tank with Duchess and her baby so that the younger female, “Sage,” can learn about the birthing and caring process.

Dolphins get better at giving birth and raising babies the older they get, Hudson said.

Duchess has passed the 25-year-old average lifespan for dolphins kept in captivity, but they’ve been known to give birth into their 40s. Habitat officials expect Duchess to continue to have babies.

The Mirage has come under criticism from some animal welfare advocates because 11 of the 16 dolphins housed at the habitat have died since it opened in 1990. Critics say dolphins shouldn’t be kept in habitats like The Mirage’s.

Officials at The Mirage say the hotel-casino took the initiative to invite outside experts to examine the facility and that federal officials looked at the situation and found nothing wrong.

The habitat is open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 4 to 12. There is no charge for children 3 and younger.

Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
Sultan’s Playroom from Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s Scott Rosenzweig talks about granting Sultan Bouras Souissi’s wish, and what went into building it. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Marsh brings historic replica of rural church to Amargosa Valley
Jim Marsh talks during the opening of the Chapel at Longstreet, a replica of an 1874 Catholic church built in the mining town of Belmont, Nev., at Marsh's Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nev. Chase Stevens/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
News Headlines
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like