Baby dolphin charms crowds

2001-02-19 15:04

Port Elizabeth - Bayworld Oceanarium employees in Port Elizabeth were pleasantly surprised when they noticed their four-month-old baby dolphin Thunzi copying her parents and entertaining crowds.

"Thunzi started copying her parents' behaviour completely on her own. We have never taught her anything, at the moment her behaviour is purely natural," Sandy Thackaray of Bayworld said.

"It's fun to see her trying out different things and persisting until she perfects them," she added.

Oceanarium staff report that Thunzi, a female dolphin born four months ago at Bayworld, has not only gained in weight and size but has also developed her sense of adventure.

Over the past few days Thunzi has surprised everybody by doing jumps on her own, hitting her tail on the water and swimming speed runs between daily performances with other dolphins.

"She learnt to do these things by observing Dolly and Domino," said curator Linda Clokie. "It's absolutely fantastic to watch her growing and developing."

During the first two months of her life, Thunzi stayed close to her mother, Dolly, but she has been spending more and more time with Domino and the seals.

Although Thunzi is still suckling, her mother Dolly has started introducing her to fish. Dolly is getting her used to the feel and scent of fish. Thackaray said training Thunzi will only start once she is eating solid food. "Hopefully that will be within a year's time, however, it's difficult to tell," Thackaray added.