Edmonton·From The Archives

Aug. 6, 1996: Baby dolphin dies at West Edmonton Mall

Mavis the dolphin’s stillborn calf was a crushing blow for the West Edmonton Mall dolphin breeding program.

Streak of unsuccessful dolphin births continues at West Edmonton Mall

From the archives: Baby dolphin dies, again, at West Edmonton Mall

Edmonton

5 years ago
1:53
In August 1996, Mavis the dolphin gave birth to a stillborn calf at West Edmonton Mall. After a string of baby dolphin deaths at the mall, the breeding program was brought into question. 1:53

Mavis the dolphin's stillborn calf was a crushing blow for the West Edmonton Mall dolphin breeding program.

It came on the heels of the birth of another calf who died barely two weeks earlier, too weak after birth to survive.

"We may never have babies here, it's possible we may never try to have babies here again." said Jerry Holik, head dolphin trainer at West Edmonton Mall.

Mavis' stillborn calf was the mall's fourth attempt at breeding. After a fifth attempt, the mall abandoned the program.

Mavis lived for almost seven more years. She died in July 2003.

The dolphin show at West Edmonton Mall was a featured attraction ever since 1985, when four Atlantic dolphins were brought in from Florida.

But after repeated, unsuccessful attempts at breeding, animal rights activists honed in on the breeding program.

The show ended after more than 15 years when the last dolphin, Howard, was moved to Florida in the spring of 2004.

That year, a sea lion show moved into the dolphin lagoon. The sea lions still perform daily.

In this video from 20 years ago this week, CBC's Brett Harris captures the dolphin trainers' despair after the stillbirth. The report aired on CBC Alberta News.

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