Three-week-old calf dies at Coral World Ocean Park

Two of the dolphins, Cavello and Nola, who live at Coral World Ocean Park (Submitted photo)

Staff members at Coral World Ocean Park are devastated by the sudden death on Thursday August 15 of the baby dolphin born to Ping three weeks ago. The results of the full autopsy performed today by veterinary staff revealed no definite cause of death at this time.

“Our staff build deep relationships with the animals and the loss of this calf has hit everyone hard, especially those who have fed and cared for the mother and calf for the past three weeks,” said Lee Kellar, curator. general. “We really appreciate the community support during this difficult time.”

According to Kristine Tartaglio, assistant curator of marine mammals, Ping and the male calf had been monitored by staff 24/7 since Ping went into labor. “The calf was suckling well according to the data we collect and was visibly filling out. His death was a shock to all of us. He just didn’t swim back to the surface. Ping is doing well and we will continue to watch him closely,” she said.

Coral Park consultant veterinarian Dr Natalie Noll, DVM, who has years of experience with marine mammals, particularly dolphins, said: “Unfortunately calf mortality is not uncommon during the first few weeks. A complete necropsy has been performed and tissue samples will be sent for analysis and histopathology to determine a possible cause of death. Results should take several weeks.

General Manager Trudie Prior praised the Coral World team for supporting each other during this sad time. “We are proud of the dedication and expert care that our team provided to the calf. Although the calf’s life was sadly short, we hope there will be information about this loss that can benefit dolphins in the marine mammal community and in the wild,” she said.

About Coral World Ocean Park

Coral World Ocean Park is a marine park located in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, which is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA). Dedicated to providing the highest quality care for marine mammals and contributing to conservation efforts through scientific research, Coral World offers programs to educate visitors about conservation and how they can have an impact. positive on maintaining the integrity of the marine ecosystem.

Through interactive experiences that allow visitors to connect with the marine life surrounding the Virgin Islands, Coral World strives to inspire the next generation of animal and conservationists.

For more information, visit the Coral World website at

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Harold B. McConnell