July 2021 - From the Pod...

Posted by DPMMR Staff on Jun 30, 2021 9:19:05 AM

Alfonz - It's business as usual this month for the big man on campus! Alfonz has stayed busy meeting guests from all over the country, playing games with his trainers, and of course... flirting with the ladies! This month, we were able to get a true "weight" on Alfonz for the first time in over 3 years thanks to our brand new dolphin scale. Alfonz weighed in at an impressive 517 pounds, maintaining his title of "biggest dolphin" at DPMMR. 

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Alfonz continues to make progress with his "belly breach" behavior with Kayla and has recently gained height with this behavior. When finished, this behavior will create a huge splash and show off just how athletic our quarterback is. 

Bob - Bob has spent the past several months working on his voluntary beach behavior and learning to slide out of the water between a team of 8 people. On Sunday, June 13th we were able to utilize his beach behavior to take Bob for a CT Scan at Mariners Hospital in Tavernier. Bob had previously been for a CT Scan in 2015 and this recent scan has allowed our veterinary team to monitor Bob's respiratory health. CT scans are one of the most advanced diagnostic tools veterinarians have at their hand to monitor, diagnose, and create treatment plans for respiratory cases like Bob. You can read more about how and why we use CT scans for the dolphins in this month's feature article (Click Here.) 

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Bob did an amazing job during the procedure, which lasted less than two hours from start to finish. Each member of the DPMMR team are incredibly proud of how Bob did with his beach behavior and during his scan! The most impressive part is that less than a week post-procedure, Bob was sliding out on a beach again and we were able to weigh him on our new scale. Way-to-go, Bob! 

Baby-Bit - With DPMMR's recent increase in visitors, B.B. has been a busy girl! This month, B.B. has spent a good deal of time working with the two younger calves Jett and Tug for our Connect to Protect program and is a great influence on the younger dolphins. IMG_2738

If you remember from previous months, B.B. has been fighting off an eye infection for a few weeks. We're happy to report that as of this month, her eyes seem to be much improved and her eyesight has returned back to normal. 

When not interacting with Guests, B.B. has been learning a myriad of new behaviors. Perhaps her favorite behavior to work on right now is called "fish toss" which is where her trainer throws a fish to her while she jumps and B.B. catches the fish mid air. For a dolphin like B.B., combining high energy behaviors with chowing down on some fish is a win-win.

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Dinghy - Unfortunately, we have been treating a small injury on Dinghy's rostrum this month which has limited Ding's activity for the past several weeks. Sometime during the middle of the day earlier this month, Dinghybumped her rostrum on something in her environment which left a scrape on the tip of her rostrum. Her training team have done an excellent job at ensuring Dinghy was not in pain and keeping important healthcare behaviors like her hydration fun and reinforcing. We're happy to report Dinghy is doing much better and thanks to cold-laser therapy her wound is quickly healing. Despite her injury, Dinghy has wanted to participate in programs with our guests and has carried on strong. Meeting our visitors seems to be one of her favorite past times! 

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Jessica - Like most of the dolphins, Jessica has enjoyed meeting the many guests who have visited this past month and is really enjoying showing off her new Up/Down behavior she has spend the past 6 months learning with Cristina! This behavior is now complete and many guests are getting to see first-hand just how well dolphins can mimic. 

Jessica's team have been working this month on re-training her voluntary urine behavior. Just as our doctors can learn a lot about kidney function from a urine sample, veterinarians gain a wealth of knowledge from a dolphin's urine sample. As you can imagine, living in a saltwater environment makes collecting a urine sample somewhat challenging. To get a viable urine sample, we need to ask the dolphins to lay upside down on our legs and provide the sample when asked. Although Jessica knows this behavior, she doesn't always offer the behavior when asked, thus her training team is working on re-training this important husbandry behavior. Most likely, Jessica will have this behavior mastered in a couple of weeks. 

Now that we have a scale to weigh Jessica, her training team has also started working on getting Jessica to beach herself onto the scale and lift her flukes out of the water. With some good luck and excellent training, we will hopefully be able to get an accurate weight on Jessica soon!

Jett - Jett seems to be enjoying meeting all of the guests that are visiting DPMMR this summer and is thriving with his Connect to Protect program. This bold 4-year-old spends a fair bit of time working with B.B. during the program and seems to be learning a lot from his older role model. Jett is incredibly smart and learns well through "Observational Learning" , that is, copying other dolphins behavior. Jett's trainers use this tool to challenge Jett with learning new behaviors, a task which really engages him during training sessions. This month, Dani has been working on training Jett to mimic her while doing "Sit Ups", Jenna has been working on training Jett to impersonate a shark with his "Shark Thrash" behavior, and Hunter has made headway with Jett's vertical behavior. 

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Tug - The second Tug saw the new scale, he attempted to beach himself onto it without being asked. Needless to say, this made getting an accurate weight on Tug an easy task. Tug's first weight ever came in at 271 pounds! 

Tug has completed his "sprinkler" behavior that was in training a few months ago and can now imitate a sprinkler when guests "ask" him for his behavior. Tug continues toIMG_4189 make progress on his front flip aerial and also with "wait & go," a cognitive task that requires Tug to remember a hand signal for an undetermined amount of time until given the "go" signal. 

Despite nearly approaching five years of age, Tug continues to spend the majority of time with his mother, Dinghy, and is frequently seen nursing still following his interactions with guests and trainers. We like to refer to this as "refueling the tank." He has to get all of his energy from somewhere!

Topics: Dolphins in Key Largo, Just For Fun, Newsletter, Pod Update

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