Bella, a healthy dolphin calf, is swimming her way into the hearts of guests and staff alike at The Mirage. The energetic calf was born Saturday, Sept. 6, to Huf n Puf, an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. With this new addition, three generations of dolphins are represented at the resort.
Shortly after the delivery, the calf swam to the water’s surface and took her first breath. The calf has quickly taken to her surroundings; she is nursing well and is closely following her mother around the habitat and bonding with her.
After the successful birth, The Mirage held an employee contest to name the youngster. Out of more than 600 entries, Bella was the winning name submitted by Tony Christopher, front services attendant. Christopher and a guest will enjoy The Mirage’s Dolphin Trainer for a Day Program as the prize for the creative suggestion.
“I had a difficult time selecting just one name from the imaginative choices provided by our employees,” said Scott Sibella, president and COO of The Mirage. “Their enthusiasm was evident. Ultimately I decided on Bella because I felt it best suited the young calf. Bella is Italian for ‘beautiful’ and she certainly is that.”
David Blasko, director of Animal Care at The Mirage, said, “Everyone at The Mirage is thrilled about Bella and how well she appears to be doing. There are several milestones we must pass in the coming weeks and months, but we remain cautiously optimistic that we have a healthy new member of our aquatic family.”
As dolphin calves remain very delicate through their entire first year of life, the Animal Care staff will continue to monitor the calf as she continues bonding with her mother, nursing and testing her independence.
Huf n Puf, a first-time mother who was born at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in March 2000, and Bella are in the Birthing and Research pool, which is open to public viewing during regular operational hours of the facility. Alongside the new mother and calf are Huf n Puf’s mother, Duchess, and Duchess’ son, Sgt. Pepper, who was born June 8, 2007. Duchess is at her daughter’s side, a natural occurrence in female dolphin pods in the wild, to assist and coach in the care of the newest addition to the family. The calf’s father, Lightning, is located in another pool within the facility.
The Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, an international association dedicated to the highest standards of care for marine mammals and to their conservation in the wild through public education, scientific study and wildlife presentations.
For admission prices, group reservations, hours of operation, and information on the Trainer for a Day Program and V.I.P tours, call (702) 791-7188 or visit www.mirage.com.