Taijah, a female bottle nosed dolphin calf began to display unusual behavior late last week, according to Kevin Willis, Director of Biological Programs at the Minnesota Zoo.
Willis says staff began around the clock observation of the young dolphin, and observed her began to deteriorate Monday, “She stopped nursing, and would not take fish from any of the trainers, and that is always an concern when an animal stops eating.”
Willis says by mid-day Monday, the dolphin had vomited a blood clot, “We assembled a team and we did an ultra sound.” Willis says the staff began treating the dolphin for an ulcer and her condition seemed to level off, “She continued to swim with mom, she was a bit lethargic, but she seemed to be stable.”
But late Monday, Taijah’s condition took a sudden turn for the worse, “I got a call around 10 o’clock, saying it really does not look good and by the time I managed to get here she had passed away.”
Willis says a necropsy was preformed on Taijah’s remains to determine a cause of death. Early test results confirm Taijah had an ulcer, but could not pinpoint the cause of the condition. Willis says it’s important to identify the cause of death; to be sure other dolphins aren’t at risk.
Wednesday, the Minnesota Zoo is waiting for the results of lab work on Taijah’s death.