Meet our dolphins
GAMBIT is believed to be the largest bottlenose dolphin in any oceanarium in the world. His average weight is around 490kg and he is 3.65m long. He is father to seven of the nine dolphins born at uShaka Sea World and grandfather to one. He is a true ocean ambassador and has, since 1976, helped us share a message of conservation in a way that no human could. He has an energy and presence that is remarkable.
FACT: Tursiops truncates, Atlantic bottlenose dolphins are the largest dolphins found off the Southern African coastline.
FRODO is the only Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphin at uShaka Sea World and is a proud mother of six of the babies born at uShaka Sea World, and grandmother to one. She is the best mother any baby dolphin could wish for as she always keeps a watchful eye while allowing her calf to explore, learn and gain confidence. She is easily recognised by the freckles on her tummy which develop on the Indian Ocean bottlenose dolphins as they get older.
FACT: Female dolphins naturally form a group and help each other during and after birth in order to raise and protect the young. The females act as midwives to the pregnant female and will actually produce milk even if they do not have babies of their own to suckle the young.
KHETHIWE is the youngest dolphin at uShaka Sea World. She was born on 25 November 2008. She is learning very quickly and loves to play. Her favourite activity at the moment is to stick her tongue out at people who walk past and her favourite toy is a blue-and-white basketball.
FACT: Baby dolphins are born with whiskers on either side of their rostrum (snout). These are used to aid them in swimming in their mother's slipstream while they learn to master their own swimming skills.
KELPIE is the first-born dolphin at uShaka Sea World, and is now 28 years old. He is well known for mimicking one of our safety alarms. Kelpie is a very good time keeper and always lets the trainers know that it is training time by singing to them.
FACT: Dolphins breathe through blowholes located on the tops of their heads. A small flap opens and closes to allow them to breathe. They can also manipulate this flap to make a variety of noises to communicate with each other. We teach them to make some of these noises in response to specific hand signals.
JULA is the most creative dolphin at uShaka Sea World; he is always keen to learn and knows more behaviours than any other dolphin here. Jula's favourite behaviour is the tongue jiggle, in which he sticks his tongue out and jiggles it around so that all his saliva splashes all over the trainers.
FACT: A dolphin calf is born with frills along the edge of its tongue which assists it to create a good suction when suckling milk from its mother without taking in sea water at the same time. Older dolphins lose these frills.
KHWEZI is a very excitable dolphin. He loves to get things right in training and loves to show off. He is very gentle with the trainers yet is sure to demonstrate his dominance by breaching when interacting with the male dolphins in his group.
FACT: Breaching is a natural behavior demonstrated by dolphins and whales. It involves leaping out of the water and landing hard on a part of their body. This behavior is used in communication, to herd fish, and to get rid of an itch.
INGELOSI is the youngest male at uShaka Sea World, born on 22 May 2004. He has a gentle and trusting nature and lives with three older males. He often gets up to mischief with his older brother Khwezi and is known to enthusiastically swim off to show the trainers something his brothers have taught him. He is often seen practicing new behaviours even when he is not in sessions.
FACT: Dolphins use mimicry as a learning tool especially when they are young. They will mimic the other dolphins in their group in order to learn how to catch fish and how to avoid predators.
TOMBI is the oldest in the female group and her birthday is 23 May 1993. She is a perfectionist and likes to put extra effort into her training sessions.
FACT: Dolphins are known to work together as a team to herd and catch fish such as sardines.
KHANYA is a granddaughter at uShaka Sea World as her mother and father were both born here. Khanya loves solo attention and is always interested in what the trainers are doing, even when they are scrubbing the pools or eating their lunch. There is only a two-month age gap between Tombi and Khanya and they are almost inseparable since they grew up learning together.
FACT: Dolphins naturally have a hierarchy in their pods to maintain stability and to work as a team. The more dominant animal will let the other dolphins know if their behavior is not acceptable by tail slapping or jaw popping.
AFFRIKA is the only pure-bred female Atlantic Ocean bottlenose dolphin. A marking that is specific to this sub-species is the dark stripe down her back. She loves her toys and doesn’t like to share them.
FACT: Dolphins have been seen in the wild playing with objects like long pieces of kelp and taking sponge from the reef to forage for fish hidden under the sand.
ZULU is a very energetic dolphin and her enthusiasm never wanes. She loves to learn and is quick to pick up new things, which keeps the trainers on their toes.
FACT: All the behaviours that you see in our shows are natural behaviours or extensions of natural behaviours. Dolphins naturally spyhop to see their surroundings and at uShaka Sea World we ask them to do this while balancing a ball. Dolphins jump naturally, so we ask them to jump over a water spray.
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