November: From the Pod...

Posted by DPMMR Staff on Nov 17, 2020 6:00:00 AM

IMG-8843Alfonz - Alfonz and his trainer Kayla have been working on his belly breach and have recently made some strong headway! He is starting to come out of the water and "breach" on his belly. This is a relatively complex behavior that may take a while to build, so stay tuned for updates!  Al is loving it so far, though, and seems to be very excited when he succeeds with a new step in the behavior. 

Also this month, Alfonz participated in a "natural swim" with Senior Trainers Luke, Hunter, and Wendy. The natural swim is a type of enrichment that does not involve any food, but rather trainers swimming side-by-side with the dolphins to strengthen their relationship. Alfonz and his lagoon partner Bob have not participated in one of these in over two years and they both seemed to have a blast!

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8FB96AA3-7F06-4E2D-AD70-95EA117045B7-6FEAABEE-FCEE-4494-A943-5F801525DBBBBob - Bob is thriving, vocalizing, and overall living his best life. Bob is currently learning a new program behavior with his trainer, Brooke, called Moving High Five (Pictured to the left). This behavior provides a fun and novel way for Bob to interact and connect with guests, by giving each guest a “High Five” with his flipper. Bob finds learning new behaviors very reinforcing and you can often find him vocalizing loudly, and ‘dancing’ after he does the behavior correctly. Bob also really enjoyed participating in a Natural Swim this month, as evidenced by the video above. 
 
unnamed-3-Nov-03-2020-05-34-51-56-PMBaby-Bit- BB gave her first blood sample from the new platforms and is making progress on becoming comfortable traveling behind the new docks. This month, BB has been working a lot with her mother, Dinghy, who is losing her vision. The trainers all know BB for her "street smarts" but have still been blown away by her ability to assist her mother throughout sessions and help Dinghy succeed. 
 
Beyond helping her mother, BB has also started learning two new behaviors; a belly-breach, a stage-slide, and a fish-toss (where BB does a jump and catches a fish mid-air). Considering how much she loves learning new behaviors, you could say BB is "living her best life." 
 
IMG_1106Dinghy- Dinghy has continued to succeed with the many voluntary veterinary procedures we've asked of her this month. These procedures have allowed us to continue monitoring her health and we're happy to report that her values indicate a healthy Dinghy! Recently, Dinghy has shown signs of complete vision loss, so her training team is working to create a new training protocol that will help Ding thrive even if she can't see as well as her younger days. None-the-less, Dinghy remains in great spirits and is enjoying spending extra time building her relationship with her primary trainers. 
 
Jessica - Jessica has still been claiming her title as matriarch of the population and the unpredictable IMG_3459nature of the Florida Keys weather has definitely had an effect on Jessica's behavior. Although a lot of Jessica's husbandry behaviors are consistently being worked on to better her comfort level with them, she has been excelling with her voluntary hydrations, ultrasound layouts, beaching, and even her blood layout has shown great improvements with the new docks.
 
Jessica still keeps a very close eye on her baby son, Jett, and is not a fan of him going behind the new docks unless she is supervising or accompanying him. Although Jett is at an age where he should be weaned and becoming more independent (turning 4 years old this month!), Jessica is holding onto every ounce of her youngest son still being a baby and will continue to be hypersensitive about him growing up as long as she possibly can.
 
unnamed-5-Nov-03-2020-05-58-04-38-PMJett - Jett is EXCELLING in various areas each and every day! New docks may feel like a new environment, so there is some getting used to, but Jett has learned quickly! He has recently done a voluntary fasted hydration, ultrasound, and blood. For a baby dolphin these tasks can be intimidating, but Jett is always up for the challenge! He has also become more familiar with swimming under the docks and popping up on the other side. Jett shares a birthday with one of his favorite trainers Dani and will turn 4 on November 24th, and his trainers are planning a fantastic birthday celebration for our youngest dolphin. 
 
Tug - Tug has continued to show nothing but confidence and intrigue since the new dock installation and has even been helping the older pod members adapt to the changing environment. In true Tug fashion, when tropical storm Eta descended on our facility, Tug was the least fazed and was actually stopping and interacting with the onsite staff who stayed to ensure our dolphin family was safe. 
 
Tug continues to progress with his slide out behavior and this month has learnt to allow for his pec fins to be tucked into his body. Most recently, he allowed both of his pectoral flippers to be "tucked" and also allowed the team to touch his body with the stretcher. Eventually, he will allow us to pick him up in the stretcher. This behavior is extremely important. If we ever needed to move Tug out of the lagoon, we want it to be as stress-free as possible, and this behavior allows us to achieve that. 
 
 This month, Tug completed his six month full body physical, ultrasound, samples and exam. Not only has he voluntarily participated in all aspects of these health checks, but has proven to be in perfect health and has grown 3 inches in length this year. Tug is showing signs that he will one day be as big (if not bigger) than his father Alfonz. They certainly have many similar attributes.
Tug Beach

 

Topics: Dolphins in Key Largo, Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphins, Just For Fun, Newsletter

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