Pacific white-sided dolphin Katrl gave birth to her first baby on April 18, and staff at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium managed to capture the 3-hour event on camera. The birth is great news, not just because baby dolphins are adorable, but because a Pacific white-sided dolphin birth has never been observed in the wild. (Pacific white-sided dolphins are protected, but not threatened.)
Baby dolphins are born live, tail-first. This is because dolphins are mammals and breathe air by swimming up to the surface. If dolphins were born head-first like most humans, they would drown before the birthing was complete.
Mother and baby are reportedly doing well, and aquarium staff are thrilled.
"To watch a dolphin be born is beautiful, but to also see its natural instincts fully take over in a matter of seconds as it kicks its tail to propel its little body to the surface to take its first breath is overwhelmingly emotional," said the aquarium's Lisa Takaki in a statement. You can follow the dolphins' progress on Facebook or Twitter.