The Indianapolis Zoo Needs Your Help in Choosing Dolphin Calf’s Name

The Indianapolis Zoo is inviting the public to participate in a Facebook poll to help choose a name for its newest addition, a male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin!

Zookeepers have preselected three names and the option that receives the most votes will become the calf’s name. The choices, along with their meaning, are: August, for the month of the baby’s birth; Leo, which symbolizes grandeur and courage; and Maui, a demigod from Polynesian mythology.

WHEN: The poll opens at noon Wednesday, October 2, and voting will continue until noon on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The chosen name will be announced Thursday, October 10.

WHERE: Voting will take place exclusively on the Indianapolis Zoo’s Facebook page.

WHO: Facebook users can vote once per day. Additionally, one lucky Zoo fan will be chosen at random to receive an Indianapolis Zoo prize pack, including four Zoo admission passes and a dolphin plush.

WHY: On August 27, 18-year-old dolphin Kalei gave birth to her second calf. Kalei is a relaxed and attentive mother. Trainers say mom and baby spend a lot of time rubbing their pectoral fins together, which is a sign of affection between dolphins. The calf is also improving his maneuvering skills and starting to independently swim short distances away from mom. The energetic newborn is nursing well and continues to grow. He currently weighs 66 pounds, which is nearly double what he weighed at birth. To help with the extra calorie needs for nursing, Kalei is eating more high-fat fish. The Zoo’s Marine Mammal staff has been monitoring mom and baby around the clock since the birth, and vet staff continue important daily medical checks. Though it will be a while before the public can see mother and calf, guests can still visit the underwater viewing dome in the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion to see the rest of the pod, which also includes Nova, matriarch of the pod and grandmother of the new calf. The Zoo’s 11 dolphins are ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. The dolphin presentation in the Dolphin Pavilion sheds light on the health of the waters where dolphins live in the wild and what we can do here in Indiana to make their world a healthier place. The presentation features local families and the steps they take each day to avoid single-use plastics to help ensure healthy oceans free of plastic that put dolphins and other sea animals at risk. Zoo Babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.

About the Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Visit



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