April the Minnesota Zoo dolphin is dead

April was the zoo's grandma dolphin.

April was the zoo's grandma dolphin.

We're so use to seeing good news out of the Minnesota Zoo's dolphin program that the latest headline made us do a double-take: April, the 44-year-old granny of the aquarium, has died.

Her passing wasn't a complete surprise, zoo officials said. She'd been ill in recent months.


April arrived at the Minnesota Zoo in January 2008, on loan from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago along with her daughter, Allie. Last summer, April became a grandma when Allie gave birth to Taijah.

Taijah only recently was declared mature enough to swim with her father.

"April was one of our most beloved animals," zoo director of biological programs Kevin Willis said. "Since she arrived here a few years ago, she quickly became a guest favorite. She enjoyed interacting with her trainers during enrichment sessions, and was often heard vocalizing during these interactions. She will be terribly missed by staff, volunteers, and all the zoo guests who met her."

Here's April's granddaughter, Taijah, swimming with her father, Semo: