Kahala Mandarin set to resume its dolphin program in March

HONOLULU -- The Kahala Mandarin Oriental here will resume its dolphin-human interaction program sometime in March after naming a new company to take over the program.

The hotel temporarily discontinued the program on Dec. 15. Bermuda-based Dolphin Quest, a company that specializes in dolphin-interaction programs at resorts, took over the program from Sea Life Park on Oahu.

Karen Lattanzi, Kahala Mandarin Oriental recreation manager, said Dolphin Quest was chosen to run the program after Sea Life Park's contract came up for review.

"With Dolphin Quest, this is all they do -- run programs at resorts -- as opposed to Sea Life Park, which runs a marine park and has more diverse programs," said Lattanzi.

The two companies will, however, continue to cooperate in the hotel's program. Kahala Mandarin is exchanging dolphins with Sea Life Park so the hotel can start a breeding program. The hotel formerly had three male dolphins. Now it has two males and two females.

The dolphins have already paired off into couples, said Lattanzi. "The breeding program is really a great way to educate visitors," said Lattanzi.

She said guests will learn about the course of the dolphins' expected pregnancies and their deliveries.

Dolphin Quest will offer Dolphin Discovery, a program for children age 5 to 12 priced at $75, and Dolphin Encounter for adults, priced at $95.

A Dolphin Quest spokeswoman said the two programs are standard, and more programs could be developed at the hotel in the future.

Dolphin Quest at the Kahala Mandarin
Phone: (808) 737-2292

Kahala Mandarin Oriental Hawaii
Phone: (800) 367-2525

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