Dubai: As with all newborns, the Dubai Dolphinarium's newest addition is simply a miracle.
The metre-long, 10-kilogram baby dolphin was born on October 10, 2010 at 12.40pm, to proud parents Ksyusha and Senya.
Now readers have the opportunity to be part of the excitement of naming the new arrival. Gulf News and Dubai Dolphinarium are together launching the ‘Name the Baby Dolphin' campaign, starting today.
You can submit your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to gulfnews.com/in-focus/babydolphin.
On December 25, the Dolphinarium will shortlist the five most unique names. Following that, readers can vote online.
The results will be announced on January 1, 2011 and the winner will meet the calf and receive a one-year family membership to the Dolphinarium. Additionally, he or she will receive two ‘swimming with the dolphins' passes. The four runners-up will also get a chance to meet the dolphin.
Proud ‘grandpa' Alexander Zanin, Head Marine Mammal Specialist at the Dolphinarium, told the newspaper that everyone was very happy with the event. "The birth itself was unexpected and when we saw that it had begun, all the trainers and staff who have some connection to the dolphins met [at the Dolphinarium]. It didn't take long and we separated them from the other dolphins to allow them time to bond. They will remain that way for about three months."
Her father Senya is in another tank. He helped care for the baby at the beginning, but as Zanin explained "like all fathers, he must earn the fish for his family and he is the chief of all the families so he has a lot of duties".
Best kept secret
Since her birth, the pup has remained the Dolphinarium's best kept secret, as few have had the privilege of meeting the small, sleek dolphin in person.
Like most new mothers, Ksyusha is keeping a close eye on her baby. However, once three and a half months are up, both mother and baby will be allowed to join the dolphinarium's four other dolphins.
The dolphins and trainers, who have been living and working together since the dolphinarium opened in May 2008, have become a close-knit family.
As Zanin put it, the only way this has been possible is because both trainer and dolphin respect each other.
"A trainer might like this dolphin and not another, but if the trainer does not respect the dolphins in any way, the next day they wouldn't be allowed to train them. "We work with the dolphins on one task, it's a group effort. They do their part and we do ours. We work together. You don't have to like everyone, but you need to respect them."
He added that it is also important that you understand them.
Highly social creatures
Dolphins by nature are highly social creatures and follow a hierarchical system, he explained.
"For human beings it is necessary to be a leader [to the dolphins]. If you are not a leader in this group or cannot keep your leadership, you will not be able to touch them, teach them, nothing."
At the moment Ksyusha is teaching her little one all the basics, but once she is out of isolation, she will begin working with the trainers. A special communication system, which has developed between the trainers and dolphins will help the little one's transition be smoother.
Zanin, who has been working with dolphins for over 40 years and travelling with Ksyusha for 13, said: "We use not words, but gestures and poses to communicate things and to take information from the dolphins. Naturally it's a non-word communicative system, but the system has given us the possibility to use it during the process of learning and training."
However, that doesn't mean she'll be joining the show anytime soon.
Zanin said: "Training is like school. First you learn all the subjects and then you choose a speciality and that speciality may change multiple times in a lifetime." For the time-being, mother and pup will remain separated, but the public will have a special chance to meet them in January.