The dolphin calf playing with her mother. Preliminary necropsy reports show that she suffered from improper prenatal development of the heart and lungs. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: She died without a name. She was about two months old. She was the first calf to be born at the Dubai Dolphinarium.

Gulf News was running a campaign to give her a name involving reader suggestions. Alexander Zanin, head marine mammal specialist at the Dolphinarium, told the newspaper that the dolphin died of a heart attack.

He said: "The attack ... lasted only 25 seconds. All the trainers were in the pool but had no time to react. There was no indication that this was going to happen.

"From the moment of her birth she showed normal behaviour." Preliminary necropsy reports show that she suffered from prenatal improper development of the heart and lungs.

Rare cases

Zanin explained that many dolphin calves, whether in the wild or in captivity rarely live past the first year.

He said: "Thirty-five per cent die after the first month and only 40 per cent will celebrate their first birthday." She died on December 16 at 6.20pm.

Gulf News' "Name the Baby Dolphin Campaign", which received 1,600 suggestions, has been closed.

Steve Preston, general manager of the Creek Park facility, said that it has been "like losing a child". He said: "We are absolutely devastated. We were all so excited and looking forward to the birth." Her mum Ksyusha is doing fine, according to the Dolphinarium.