Iris and Ivo at Duisburg Zoo in July 2000


Photo J.P.Von der Becke Juillet 2000
Ivo : King of the Tank


Last June, the Duisburg Zoo Director, Dr. R.Frese, had addressed to us a corrigendum in connection with the she-dolphin Iris. Dr. R.Frese was being astonished by the fact we could see Iris in her small basin whereas she was in another. The photograph published on our site is however not the fruit of an illusion, but it seems indeed that it dates from January rather than of March.

Phot.JP Von der Becke

Dr.Frese suggested on this occasion that we could start a less passional and more constructive dialogue, in order that similar errors do not occur any more. Extremely happy of this
opening, we thus proposed to him a first meeting in its delphinarium on Saturday July 15 2000, so that he explains us how its team took care of their captive dolphins and how the pregnant females lived their pregnancy.
The said day, there was unfortunately nobody to receive us, except some angry trainers extremely concerned to make us leave the room. In these context of not-collaboration, it is clear that we cannot guarantee to the readers of this site the absolute exactitude of our information. And since the new site of the Zoo of Duisburg is also dumb on the health of its captive Cetacea, we cannot that to invite Dr. Frese to give us his version of the facts if
he considers it necessary.

Return to departure

The first thing which strikes while penetrating in the delphinarium amphitheatre, it is the emptiness of the large central basin, whose bottom was recently repainted with green plates, in order to imitate algae.
At the first glance, there are just three dolphins there : Iris, Ivo and (we suppose it) the little Daisy, the junior girl of Play Boy and Pepina. From now on, the two former Antwerp’s dolphins occupy all space: this swimming pool became theirs. Once again, they are there, side by side.
After having eliminated all its male competitors (Duphi, Play Boy), Ivo is now the King of the Tank and almost the only performer of a slow and boring three-time-a-day show.

Ivo’s attitude is well that of a winner. He allows himself to leave the show in the very middle, in order to post himself in front of the iron gate of the invisible «breeding basin »
backstage, in spite of the desperate calls of his she-trainer. Then he returns, indolent. Ivo does not even troubled himself to touch really the red balloon suspended on the ceiling, being satisfied just to outline the
jump. His health seems good but strange mottled spots, dark or clear, cover his skin.

Photo J.P.Von der Becke Juillet 2000

Iris, heavier and more indolent than her son, is although relatively active. After these two years of quasi absolute immobility, one can be delighted to see her jumping,
moving, plunging in this large and deep tank, much larger than that of delphinarium of the Zoo of Antwerp.

On the other hand, the presence of a broad black spot on her back, in front of the aileron and at the rear of the vent, appears alarming. The trainers in charge of the show could not explain us the origin of this trace. Blow, wound,
skin disease ? One knows nothing of it. Also note that the right side fin of Iris seems to have been the subject of recent medical care, since a kind of white cataplasm can be seen there.

Photo J.P.Von der Becke Juillet 2000

Little Daisy (born with the Zoo in 1996) hardly takes part in the show. She is satisfied to leap with ardour in the small side basin where Iris has spent some many months all

Pepina (catched in the wild in 1980) and her daughter Delphy (captive born in 1992) are both fatherd by Ivo and now pregnant.We do not know more. No news comes from the Zoo. The Delphy delivery could be a hard one, because she’s very young but it could be also a
big « success » for the Zoo : the birth of a second-generation cative-born baby !

Unhappily, times were pretty hard for the Zoo recently : after the recent death of the male Iris’ newborn, after the death of Play Boy (march 2000) and of his son Duphi (January 2000), we can easlily understand the Zoo staff is careful and not specially talkative…

Duisburg Zoo Director
Dr Frese
Mülheimerstrasse 273
47058 Duisburg
Tel 0049 203/305590
Fax /3055922
Site Web :
E-mail :


Iris and Ivo at Duisburg Zoo in July 2000

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