Baby Dolphins Get Names

December 17, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

Two baby dolphins at Baltimore's National Aquarium finally have names -- Chesapeake and Cobie -- thanks to two young girls who won a name-the-calves contest.

That's Chessie for short, for the female, and just Cobie for the male.

Cobie?

"It was just a pretty neat name," said 11-year-old Kimberly Blackwell, a sixth-grader at Golden Ring Middle School who "just thought it up."

Chesapeake (Chessie) was the suggestion of Shannon McCartney, 12, of Millersville -- a name the aquarium staff felt particularly appropriate as several thousand entries were narrowed to 10 finalists in recent weeks.

Shannon, a seventh-grader at Old Mill Middle North, said she was surprised when the aquarium called her home to say she had won, because "I didn't even remember entering the contest." The entry was submitted through a school activity, she said.

The winners were chosen by the aquarium dolphin-training staff in a secret ballot and announced yesterday.

Kimberly and Shannon were given the rare opportunity to pet the calves, since human contact has been limited since their births in March, three weeks apart.

Marine mammal curator Nedra Hecker said Chesapeake and Cobie are being trained not to bite people -- mostly by withdrawing attention or not reacting when they nip at a hand.

"Like little babies, they're into chewing everything," she said. They also like toys, she said.

"They were really friendly," said Kimberly, who lives in Rosedale. Shannon described them as "silky" and "really smooth."

The girls won aquarium memberships, T-shirts and an assortment of dolphin-related gifts, including stuffed dolphins.

Kimberly named hers "Cobie Junior," and Shannon said she was leaning toward Chessie.

That figures.

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