News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
November 4, 2022
NOTE: Scroll down to end of press release to download photos.

Brookfield Zoo Dolphins Make Temporary New Home at Minnesota Zoo
while Seven Seas Habitat Undergoes Renovations

Brookfield, Ill. — This week, Brookfield Zoo’s seven bottlenose dolphins, accompanied by a team of veterinarians, animal care specialists, and support staff arrived safely to their temporary home at Minnesota Zoo. The animals’ stay in Minnesota, allows for their habitat at Seven Seas to receive necessary updates and renovations.

“The move went as expected and the dolphins are currently getting acclimated to their new environment,” said Rita Stacey, vice president of animal programs for the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo. “We are extremely grateful to our colleagues at Minnesota Zoo for providing a home where all of the dolphins could remain together while our Seven Seas habitat is undergoing updates and repairs.”

Renovations to the 35-year-old facility include the installation of a lift platform in the south habitat that allows the water depth to be quickly adjusted in the event advanced medical care may be needed for an animal. Additional improvements include a new roof and a complete climate-controlled air purifying system for the entire building, making for a better environment for the animals, staff, and guests, who can enjoy a tropical temperature year-round.

“The Minnesota Zoo has a long history of partnering with sister institutions in the fields of animal care, health, and conservation,” said John Frawley, Minnesota Zoo director. “By temporarily providing housing to Brookfield’s dolphins, we are assisting our colleagues in Illinois as they make habitat improvements for enhanced animal care and welfare, while also helping connect Minnesotans to this incredible species and the importance of ocean conservation.”

To provide the best possible care for the dolphins—Lucky, 48; Tapeko, 40; Allie, 35; Kai, 28; Spree, 20; Noelani, 19; and Allison, 17—seven of Brookfield Zoo’s animal care staff will also be spending time in Minnesota, providing daily care to the dolphins and engaging with them in the same manner they do in Chicago. Additionally, there are plans to provide Dolphins in Action presentations for guests at Minnesota Zoo’s Discovery Bay, beginning in late November. During the duration of the dolphins’ stay, several of Brookfield Zoo’s marine mammal care specialist will remain in Chicago caring for the zoo’s California sea lions and grey seals. Brookfield Zoo will keep guests in Illinois updated on the dolphins through its social media channels.

CZS has a deep commitment to dolphin care and welfare, research, and conservation. In 2021, CZS animal welfare scientists had findings published from the largest-ever multi-institutional study of how physical habitat, environmental enrichment, and animal training impact the welfare of cetaceans (dolphins and whales) in zoos and aquariums worldwide. The collection of nine published manuscripts highlight tools and findings that can be utilized for the continuous improvement of the care and welfare of cetaceans in professional care.

Another example of the Society’s commitment to dolphin care and conservation, is its Sarasota Dolphin Research Program (SDRP), the longest-running dolphin study in the wild, which has allowed staff to be able to study individual animals throughout their lives. This unique level of background knowledge has led to new understandings about the dolphins’ biology, ecology, social structure, and health—and an overall richer understanding of dolphin lives and the challenges, big and small, that the animals face in their day-to-day lives, providing guidance on how we can help them. Thanks to the program’s expertise, staff is often called upon to lead or support efforts to rescue individual dolphins impacted by human-caused problems such as entanglements or boat strikes. The SDRP has been involved in numerous rescues of bottlenose dolphins along Florida’s west coast—rescues that have played a role in supporting future generations of dolphins.

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 Photo Captions (credit: Lynette Kleisner/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
5764 and 1286: Animal care staff from Brookfield Zoo during a feeding session with the zoo’s bottlenose dolphins. The dolphins were recently moved to Minnesota Zoo while their habitat at Seven Seas undergoes renovations.
Spree: Spree, a 20-year-old bottlenose dolphin, during a feeding session with Andy Ferris, one of the senior animal care specialist from Brookfield Zoo.

About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Additionally, Brookfield Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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