Hawaii #16 - Baby wolphin

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    I'd like to introduce you to a cute 9 month old baby girl.

    But first I should tell you about her mom's story. Her mom is Kekaimalu, whose name means "from the peaceful ocean." Kekaimalu is a 19 year old wolphin, the result of a surprise coupling between a 14-foot, 2,000-pound false killer whale and a 6- foot, 400-pound dolphin. The whales and dolphins were living together in a shared pool at Sea Life Park, and one evening (unseen by their humans), one whale and one dolphin went to Funkytown.

    The humans didn’t realize what had happened until the baby was born – and they knew right away that this was no ordinary baby. Kekaimalu has developed into a unique animal, combining characteristics of both of her parents. Her size, color, and shape are right in-between her dolphin mother and whale father; she weighs about 600 pounds and is close to 10 feet long. Even her teeth show her mixed heritage: bottlenose dolphins have 88, false killer whales have 44, and Kekaimalu has 66. John Oakley, a Sea Life Park trainer, has worked with Kekaimalu since her since she was a calf, "She's one of the brightest animals I've ever worked with."

    Around Christmas last year, Kekaimalu gave birth to the baby girl in this picture (the baby hasn’t been named yet). Her father is one of the dolphins in the park pool (all the whales are now gone); the park scientists can’t be sure which dolphin is the father until they complete the genetic tests. The baby is very playful but twice as large as her playmate (a “pure” baby dolphin, who, along with her mother, share the mom-and-baby pool at Sea Life Park in Oahu Hawaii.)

    Mother and daughter are the only two wolphins in captivity, although there have been unproven reports of them being seen in the wild. There may be other wild dolphin or cetacean hybrids out there; for years, scientists have been listening to a unique whalesong in the Pacific that some believe to be sung by a hybrid of a blue whale and another whale species (full story).

    She and her mother are Hybrids similar to ligers, tigons, and mules. Contrary to popular belief, some different species in the same genus can mate and produce fertile offspring (mules are infertile, wolphins seem to be fertile). As to the question of why animals would mate outside their own species – this may be a desirable behavior in the Darwinian sense in that it increases the genetic diversity of the populations, so it may have positive selection pressure.

    To learn more about wolphins: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolphin
    To learn more about hybrids - www.greenapple.com/~jorp/amzanim/crossesa.htm

    psychicgypsy, *petita*, elkit, and 355 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. __victoria 76 months ago | reply

      she is a cutie))

    2. GabrielBazzi [deleted] 75 months ago | reply

      Amazing pic! I hope to take some nice pix like yours in Hawaii.

    3. Naomi Hayes 72 months ago | reply

      You captured Kawili'kai's eyes so well.
      She is an awesome wholphin now at 3.
      We loved working with her. She is adorable.

    4. Sarah Mesquita 71 months ago | reply

      beautiful picture ! congratulation....................

    5. maevecamille 71 months ago | reply

      wow I enjoy this picture....it is very nice

    6. Abdullah Alnamlah's Photography 70 months ago | reply

      this pic is very nice .....and, and ....
      Well, words can't describe this pic
      it's so so so so so so so so so so so amazing .

    7. IT MADDI BITCH(; 70 months ago | reply

      that is so cool it is a dolfin yay

    8. ginaa mariee 69 months ago | reply

      awww! cute, and very unique.

      i'm going to maui tomorrow, and i was wondering where exactly you can see dolphins?

      if you can reply back by commenting a picture of mine, or emailing me at: ginaaaxmarieee@aim.com that'd be great!

    9. akin44 69 months ago | reply

      sparkling....good shot!

    10. Little Gina 67 months ago | reply

      Lovely wolphin... And Curious story! I liked it.

    11. Sarah Gaston 67 months ago | reply

      Great, informative story and what a beautiful capture! You should feel very lucky to have been able to see such a rare creature in such close proximity. I love the clarity and exceptional detail in this photo. Wonderful work!

    12. friskierisky 64 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called All Safe Pics Welcome, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    13. Kingdom Animalia [deleted] 62 months ago | reply

      "One whale and one dolphin went to Funkytown"

      Hahaha I love it! xD

      Very cute =)

    14. aaron_language 62 months ago | reply

      What a beautiful animal! Thank you for putting this great shot up at at Flickr and making it available with a Creative Commons license, enabling us to beautify our page at www.aaronlanguage.com/tenfundamentals.htm. The page covers ten fundamentals of technical writing. Your name is under the photo, crediting you and linking to one of our credit pages at www.aaronlanguage.com/additionallinks/credits_5.html where your name is listed, which then links to your profile here at Flickr. And thank you again! We really do appreciate the license and photography!

    15. LynstarFC 60 months ago | reply

      Aw, what a neat story. She's cute! Saw this photo credited to you in Six amazing hybrid animals and decided to track it down on Flickr. Beautiful photo!

    16. BlueRidgeKitties 60 months ago | reply

      I thought "wolphin" was a typo until I read the story! I'm an admin for a group called Life Sciences Teaching Resource, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    17. Kirsten Massebeau 50 months ago | reply

      Dolphins do not belong in captivity. Why do they need an aquarium or aquatic park in Hawaii when the ocean is right there. How sad:(

    18. Khaotic Photos [deleted] 47 months ago | reply

      How cute, I saw her in 2008. Island of Oahu right? Gorgeous shot. How beautiful.

    19. Glenn Franco Simmons 6 months ago | reply

      I realized you posted this a few years ago, but I didn't see it until today, and it's a great photo, and just as special was your narrative about it. thank you for posting it.

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