There's bonding time at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, where 9-year-old bottlenose dolphin Bella is getting to know her first born, Mirabella, now just 8 days old.
"We are so, so excited. This is absolutely perfect. We have a bonded Mom and baby. Bella's a first-time Mom and she's taken up motherhood perfectly," said Holley Muraco, a reproductive physiologist.
Mirabella is the first female born at Discovery Kingdom in eight years. On Jan. 9 she weighed in at 25 pounds.
When Bella was pregnant, she gained the attention of researchers because of the whistling sounds she made, apparently directed at her unborn fetus.
"Bella would come into a pool, sort of separate herself from the other dolphins and quietly float and make what's known as a signature whistle or the baby whistle," said Muraco.
"What we found out was it is almost as if Bella were imprinting with her baby, prior to the birth," said Muraco.
As it is now, Mirabella and her Mom are having some quiet time, getting to know each other, but all under the watchful eye of a marine mammal trainer. The trainer notes each time Bella nurses her baby to make sure Mirabella is getting enough nourishment. The pair will be allowed their privacy for a little while longer.
"Guests can start seeing Bella and her calf Mirabella starting Jan. 25 and 26," said Nancy Chan from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
Mirabella is third generation at Discovery Kingdom. Her grandmother is 34-year-old Chelsea.