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17 Aug, 2007 02:11

Moscow dolphinarium gets welcome additions

Moscow's dolphinarium has some new additions to the family – two baby dolphins. In a little over a year's time they will be taking part in shows, but for now their parents are teaching them the simple things of life.

During the recent baby-boom in Moscow's dolphinarium, two bottlenose calves came in to the world. There have been successful attempts to use artificial insemination with these clever animals, but this time the parents made do with the traditional route to birth.

The only other problem is that it's still not known if one of the new additions is a male or a female.

“Marta showed us her belly and glands straight away so her gender was obvious. We are not sure about the other newborn, but we think it's a boy because he is quieter. The dolphin girls are usually cleverer and easily taught, but they are less stable when performing. The boys take longer to learn but once they've learnt they do everything perfectly,” Elena Vasilyeva from the dolphinarium's press-service explained.

Adult dolphins eat up to 20 kg of fish a day. The calves are also trying to catch some, but it's too early for them and they'll feed on mum's milk until they're at least a year old.

From birth parents work hard to educate their offspring: how to move, how to breath, and even how to play. And as any parents dolphins can also be strict.

“The mother can often punish her baby for bad behavior. She may push him with her nose or keep him under the water,” Roman Chelyshev, dolphin trainer, says.

For 15 years Roman has been learning the special language needed to communicate with his beloved mammals.

“They can't hear our voices so we use gestures,” he says.

Certainly dolphins don't look like human beings, but we do have a lot in common:  they are warm-blooded animals, they feed their babies with milk, and dolphins have a high IQ. Also, they can smile and love people a lot, especially when people appreciate their talents.

Almost all the animals in the dolphinarium over one year take part in the dolphin show. A white polar whale and a walrus share the stage with the dolphins.

As the trainers says, the lauder the applause, the happier the animal and the more impressive the performance.