Key Biscayne

April 22, 2014

Baby dolphin makes its debut at Seaquarium, and now it needs a name

Miami Seaquariam is celebrating a new life, officially welcoming the park’s newest dolphin that was born April 11. The park now wants help selecting a name.

Panama didn’t let her newborn baby out of sight.

And knowing his baby was in good hands, the little one’s proud father, Sundance, took the spotlight, eating up all the attention — and the fish.

Panama, 20 and Sundance, 23, are dolphins, and their calf — born April 11 and not yet named — is the newest member of the Miami Seaquarium family.

On Tuesday, in honor of Earth Day, the theme park on the Rickenbacker Causeway officially welcomed the park’s newest members including the calf, an orphaned baby manatee, six infant cow nose sting rays and 50 octopi.

The dolphin calf is the first to be born at the park in more than a year, bringing the dolphins population up to 37.

“It’s a celebration of life,” said Sarah Graff, manager of animal training, as she pointed out the It’s a Girl banner hanging from the pool.

Tuesday’s Top Deck Dolphin show featured the happy family, with a toned-down jumping and splashing segment with the pool’s other dolphins to make sure the baby stayed safe. The dozens of tourists that gathered around didn’t seem to mind.

“Look at the baby,” Casseus Destin said to her 3-year-old daughter Gabrielle, who smiled.

Mother, who weighs about 650 pounds, and her baby happily swam around the pool that holds half a million gallons of water. Panama, who has three other calves, paused briefly to get a snack. Panama’s oldest offspring Rioux, who is 11 and has a son of her own, showed off a few of her tricks on the other end of the pool.

“In the beginning she will stay with her mother and then she will start venturing out,” Graff said. “Right now we let Panama focus on being a mother.”

The park hopes to get people involved in naming the new calf, who made her debut at about 7 p.m. April 11, weighing in at 20 to 30 pounds and measuring two to three feet.

Anyone can vote on Facebook for one of four choices: Bali, Fiji, Calypso and Sanibel.

Graff said they came up with the list because Panama is half Pacific and half Atlantic dolphin and Bali and Fiji are Pacific Islands. Calypso “fit the nautical theme,” said Graff, and Sanibel is an Island in Southwest Florida.

Guests at the park on Tuesday — many of whom tried to snap a picture of the pair, which proved to be a challenge because of the dolphins’ speed — were split.

“Sanibel is a pretty girl’s name,” said Destin’s 8-year-old daughter, Karen.

A few thought Fiji was appropriate.

Said Martin Weigert, who was visiting the park from Germany with his 8-year-old daughter, Marlene: “It has a nice ring to it.”.

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