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Dolphin adopts whale calf

A Bottlenose dolphin in French Polynesia has been spotted mothering an orphaned melon-headed whale—an entirely different species and genus of dolphin. It is the first known case of a wild bottlenose mom adopting a calf of another species.

Adoption among wild mammals is uncommon and only usually occurs between related members of the same species. To add to the unusual situation, dolphin mothers normally only care for one infant at a time however this dolphin already had a baby and the trio was frequently seen swimming together and the dolphin was seen to nurse her adoptive calf. 

The melon-headed whale adopted the behaviour of his adopted family & pod, he regularly socialised with the other calves and has been seen surfing the waves. His persistence and adaptive behaviour may have assisted him in his successful acceptance by another species. 

Why the dolphin would adopt another species is unknown however this particular dolphin is well known to local SCUBA divers demonstrating a relaxed nature combined with her motherly instincts from her own recent birth may be contributors. 

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