Dolphin Adopts Orphaned Baby Whale 

Dolphin Adopts Orphaned Baby Whale 

Thanks to the hard work of marine biologists, we are constantly gaining knowledge about life in the ocean. One of these discoveries tells the story of an adoption. A female bottlenose dolphin was seen caring for an orphaned melon-headed whale—a phenomenon that has never been recorded before with dolphins. 

The whale was first seen with his adoptive mother in 2014, along with a bottlenose dolphin calf who appeared to be the mother’s biological offspring. Not only were the three an odd grouping due to the addition of another species, but also because dolphins typically only care for one calf at a time. Researchers continued to observe the trio together over the coming years, witnessing the whale nursing with his adoptive mother and acting more like a dolphin than as a melon-headed whale. 

A remarkable occurrence like this encourages us to think more deeply about the mental capabilities and emotions of other animals. With the increased time and energy commitment, why would this dolphin care for an individual of another species? 

Perhaps, caring for a species outside of your own isn’t as rare as we are led to believe. It’s common for humans to adopt members of other species when we welcome animal companions into our homes. Therefore, this mother’s motives to care for an orphaned calf are likely no different than those of humans; it can be seen as an act of compassion rooted in empathy and love. 

Dolphins and whales deserve compassion and understanding, none of which can be achieved in captivity. Click here to see the latest news about keeping cetaceans wild and free.

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