Ocean park

Coral World Ocean Park welcomes two new dolphins

Two new dolphins, Cavello and Nola, come to live at Coral World Ocean Park. (photo sent)

On May 4, Coral World Ocean Park welcomed two Atlantic coastal bottlenose dolphins to their new home at Coral World’s St. Thomas Marine Sanctuary in Water Bay. The dolphins, Cavello and Nola, join the four current residents – Liko, Noelani, Sonny and Ping – who have resided at Coral World since February 20, 2019.

Cavello and Nola belong to the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo. They were born into human care in Bermuda in an ocean environment and have experience with interactive programs. Coral World’s animal welfare specialists spent months in St. Thomas and with staff in Bermuda preparing for the transport and arrival of the dolphins. General Curator Lee Kellar and Coral World consultant veterinarian Dr. Natalie Noll accompanied the dolphins on their flight to St. Thomas to ensure their welfare. “It takes a lot of effort to organize and carry out a dolphin transport. I’m happy to say this one went really well,” Kellar said.

Senior Animal Care Team Member Colleen Cornachione spent time in Bermuda building a rapport with each of them so they had a familiar face when they arrived. Cornachione said: “It was wonderful getting to know Cavello and Nola in Bermuda. They have such sweet personalities and love to learn. One of their favorite activities is swimming with their animal welfare specialists. Our Coral World staff spent a lot of time learning as much as possible about them before they arrived. They can’t wait to join them for a swim in their new home.

According to Kristine Tartaglio of Coral World, assistant curator of marine mammals and birds, scholars are excited to get to know Cavello and Nola better. She observed, “We are really looking forward to the new dynamic that Nola and Cavello will bring to our current social group. Since they have lived their entire lives in an ocean environment, I expect them to encourage our original four dolphins to make more use of their habitat and benefit from all the stimulation it offers. Liko, Noelani, Sonny, and Ping had little or no exposure to natural marine habitat before coming to Coral World. As a result, it took some time for each of them to adapt to life among fish, invertebrates, corals and seagrasses. Even after two years, some are bolder explorers than others.

Cavello and Nola will spend time in the Sanctuary’s specialty areas as they adjust to their new home, but hopefully their adjustment will be relatively quick given their experience with a natural marine habitat. Over the next few weeks, animal welfare specialists at Coral World will gradually introduce them to their new social group while closely monitoring their transition.

As with the sanctuary’s original residents, Coral World’s team of animal welfare specialists will work to build strong relationships with Cavello and Nola before they are introduced to Coral World visitors.

St. Thomas Marine Sanctuary is adjacent to the park’s Dolphin Education Center where daily presentations teach visitors about the intelligence and agility of dolphins and the importance of respecting the integrity of the marine ecosystem in which they live. Visitors also learn how their behavior can affect the marine ecosystem.

Coral World is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, the leading accrediting body for zoos, aquariums and marine parks worldwide dedicated to the highest quality of marine mammal care and contribute to their conservation in the wild through education and scientific research. Facilities go through a rigorous accreditation process every five years. Coral World was originally accredited in 2015 and has recently been reaccredited.

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