This article was taken from the newspaper. A 12-year-old bottlenose dolphin called Onda has given birth to a calf at Laguna Mediterraneo, a first for the park in Bahar ic-Caghaq. The calf is one metre long and weighs13kg. Its mother was brought to Malta from Cuban waters in 2003 along with the father, Lucas. Marineland Ltd, the company that runs the Mediterraneo Marine Park, said it had been following a species propagation programme. Veterinary surgeons, trainers, biologists, voluntary workers and the staff at the park had been closely followed the gestation of the young and inexperienced Onda. Body temperature and behaviour were regularly monitored together with blood tests and ultrasounds check-ups to establish the precise moment of delivery. It all started with the waters breaking and subsequent caudal fin-first deliverance (normally the calves are born tail first). "Though inexperienced, Onda, guided by a deep maternal instinct has behaved like a perfect mum!" Marineland said. It may seem strange but the first thing dolphins must do, after giving birth, is to keep the calf underwater and not guide him immediately to the surface unlike what one could be tempted to assume. Keeping the calf underwater is akin to spanking a newborn baby. It allows the lungs to expand when the calf is taking its first breaths, the company said. Mother and calf are now swimming in a pool of the lagoon especially prepared for the birth. They are being kept under 24-hours surveillance by the park's veterinary surgeon, biologists, trainers and volunteers (Maltese, Portuguese and Italian students of Biology, Veterinary Medicine and other Zoological Sciences). The calf is feeding normally. Whether in a monitored environment or in the open seas, dolphins giving birth for the first time are always at risk. In fact, the probability of success is less than 60% but increases day by day. During the calf's first days of life the mother's energy waste is enormous. Suffice to consider that from 7-8 kg of fish per day she can go on to approximately 20 kg.