POSTED: 6:55 p.m. HST, Jan 8, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 8:23 p.m. HST, Jan 8, 2013
WAIKOLOA, Hawaii >> Officials in Hawaii have named a baby dolphin whose birth captured on video became a viral video hit.
Lehua is one of three baby dolphins born recently at Dolphin Quest Hawaii at the Hilton Waikoloa Village resort on Hawaii island.
Footage from Lehua’s birth shows the baby dolphin’s tail moments before she emerges from her mother. Once she is born, she shoots up to the water’s surface to take her first breath.
Dolphin Quest Hawaii held a naming contest for Lehua and two other babies born in the manmade lagoon after closely monitoring their first months of life. Dolphin Quest is an exhibit where guests can swim with and touch the dolphins, while those outside the water can see the animals up close.
Dolphin Quest officials say more than 1,200 names were submitted by the public.
The winning name was suggested by Kapua Smith of Keller, Texas. Lehua means “beautiful flower” in Hawaiian.
The other dolphins are named Malu and Nahele. Malu means “peace” in Hawaiian. It was a name suggested by two people at the same time. Nahele means “forest” in Hawaiian.
The contest winners won free dolphin swims.
Officials said Lehua and the other dolphins are doing well and interacting with trainers.
Lehua’s birth was a smash hit online, with millions of views. In the video, Lehua seems to instantly recognize her mother and swim with her after taking her first breath.