Dolphin shows off newborn calf to Moreton Island visitors
A DOLPHIN gave visitors to Moreton Island's Tangalooma Island Resort a thrill when she swam in for the evening feed with a newborn calf.
Tangalooma operates one of the world's most successful dolphin provisional feeding programs.
Twelve dolphins regularly visit the beachfront at dusk to be hand fed fresh fish by resort guests.
Tinkerbell appeared with her new little one after a four-day absence from the nightly feeding routine.
Eco Ranger Susan Hassard said Tinkerbell, at 25 years old, was a dominant female and one of the most successful mothers in the program.
"This is Tinkerbell's fifth calf now and she is proving to be a very good mum," Mrs Hassard said.
"The baby is very close to its mother's side and Tinkerbell seems to be very protective.
"Whenever one of the dolphins brings in a newborn our staff become very excited and very emotional by the whole experience.
"Here at Tangalooma, it's amazing the trust that these dolphins have in us.
"Sometimes the dolphins will bring in their newborn babies only 12 to 24 hours after their birth."
Tinkerbell, or Tink as she is affectionately known, is the offspring of Beauty, the dolphin who first befriended resort owner Betty Osborne, a bond that began the feeding program 30 years ago.
Her offspring includes Tangles, 15, Storm, 11, Phoenix (passed away), and Luna, 3, born in May 2012.
Because the dolphins are wild, it could be many months before Tangalooma Eco Rangers can determine the sex of her newest calf.
Mother and newborn appear to be doing well.