So far, 11 calves have been born to resident Sarasota Bay dolphins in 2012. One of the calves has died, presumably from a boat strike.
This is an encouraging survival rate. Calf mortality averages about 50% during the first year of life, so we’ll have to wait and see how well this year’s crop of youngsters do.
By way of yearly comparison, in 2011, 9 calves were born to Sarasota Bay resident dolphins, and 3 more to mothers seen frequently around the periphery of the Sarasota home range. In 2010, all but one of the 17 calves survived into the fall.
Calves typically stay with their mothers 3-6 years. Data on calves are collected as part of our 10 dolphin surveys each month. Over time, the dolphin surveys allow us to document survival rates for calves.