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Fans Choose Maui as Name for Zoo’s Dolphin Calf

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WHAT: With an overwhelming majority of public support, the Indianapolis Zoo is excited to announce that Maui has been chosen as the name for its new male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin calf. Facebook fans were invited to choose from three name options that were preselected by Zoo’s Marine Mammal staff, and Maui received about 52% of the votes in the recently concluded poll. Maui is the name of a demigod from Polynesian mythology and a character who was made popular by the 2016 Disney Pixar film “Moana.”

WHEN: Voting began on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and ended on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The chosen name was announced publicly earlier today.

WHERE: The big announcement was made on the Indianapolis Zoo’s Facebook page.

WHO: Nearly 3,800 votes were tallied during the week-long poll. Thousands of people from across the United States participated, although the majority were Facebook fans from throughout Central Indiana.

WHY: Maui was born Aug. 27 to 18-year-old mother Kalei. This is the second calf for Kalei, and trainers say she is a relaxed and attentive mother. Mom and baby spend lots of time rubbing their pectoral fins together, which is a sign of affection between dolphins. Maui has been improving his maneuvering skills and starting to independently swim short distances away from mom. The energetic newborn is nursing well and continues to grow. Maui recently weighed in at 66 pounds, which is nearly double what he weighed at birth. To help with the extra calorie needs for nursing, Kalei is eating more high-fat fish. The Marine Mammal staff has been closely monitoring mom and baby since the birth, and vet staff continues important daily medical checks. Though it will be a while before the public can see mother and calf, guests can still visit the underwater viewing dome in the St. Vincent Dolphin Pavilion to see the rest of the pod, which also includes Nova, grandmother of the new calf. The Zoo’s 11 dolphins are ambassadors for their counterparts in the wild. The Zoo’s dolphin presentation sheds light on the health of the waters where dolphins live in the wild and what Hoosiers can do to make their world a healthier place. The presentation features local families and the steps they take each day to avoid single-use plastics to help ensure healthy oceans free of plastic that put dolphins and other sea animals at risk. Zoo Babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.


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About the Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Alliance of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com