Beloved prosthetic-tailed dolphin Winter, of “Dolphin Story” films, has died at 16

Clearwater, Florida — A prosthetic-tailed dolphin named Winter that starred within the “Dolphin Story” films died Thursday night at a Florida aquarium regardless of life-saving efforts to deal with a gastrointestinal abnormality, aquarium officers stated.

The 16-year-old feminine bottlenose dolphin died whereas being held by animal care specialists who had been making ready Winter for a process on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium the place the well-known marine mammal has lengthy resided.

“The CMA household is devastated,” the aquarium wrote in an announcement, in keeping with CBS Tampa affiliate WTSP-TV.

“Whereas we’re heartbroken by Winter’s dying, we’re comforted understanding that our group did all the things attainable to offer her the most effective likelihood at survival,” stated veterinarian Dr. Shelly Marquardt, in an announcement launched by the aquarium.

Marquardt stated the aquarium labored with specialists and marine mammal specialists from across the nation however the dolphin, which was in essential situation and declining, died whereas being held by caregivers.

Film Incentives
Clearwater Marine Aquarium senior marine mammal coach Abby Stone works with Winter the dolphin in August 2011.

Chris O’Meara / AP

The assertion stated the aquarium would stay closed on Friday to supply employees time to grieve. It had earlier stated a Friday closure would permit staff to deal with the dolphin’s medical care with plans to reopen Saturday.

Plans for a memorial are anticipated to be introduced quickly, WTSP says.

James “Buddy” Powell, president of the aquarium, informed reporters Thursday that the power’s employees and outdoors specialists had been doing all the things attainable searching for to revive the dolphin to well being.

Winter beforehand skilled intestinal points – not unusual amongst dolphins – however such issues have by no means affected her like this, Powell had stated Thursday. However on the time, he stated Winter was not responding to therapy as previously, including there was no proof Winter had the coronavirus.

Winter was a two-month-old calf when her tail grew to become entangled in a crab entice close to Cape Canaveral, which compelled its amputation.

A fisherman was out on his boat when he noticed a crab entice buoy that was bobbing towards the present, WTSP says. When he went to analyze, he discovered Winter wrapped up within the rope of that crab entice. Following her rescue, Winter was taken to CMA.

“Dolphin Story,” which was launched in 2011, chronicled Winter’s restoration and the unprecedented, prolonged effort to suit her with a prosthetic tail.

The movie, starring Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson, Morgan Freeman and Nathan Gamble, was largely shot on the Clearwater aquarium and surrounding Tampa Bay places. It put the non-profit aquarium, first opened in 1972 on the location of a former water therapy plant, on the map internationally.

“This place would not be right here if it wasn’t for Winter,” Powell stated.

Winter’s story of rehabilitation has change into an inspiration for disabled individuals around the globe and the aquarium has acquired hundreds of messages of help since Winter’s sickness grew to become identified.

“Many are impressed by her resiliency and this wonderful response reminds us of how deeply she has affected tens of millions, together with so many on their very own well being journey,” the aquarium assertion stated.

A sequel, “Dolphin Story 2,” was launched three years later starring Winter and Hope, one other rescued dolphin cared for by the Clearwater aquarium.

Bottlenose dolphins can dwell as much as 60 years and are thought of some of the clever of all animal species.

Winter and Hope grew to become probably the most well-known residents of the Clearwater aquarium, which additionally operates sea turtle and manatee rescue packages.

An $80 million enlargement of the power was not too long ago accomplished, together with a 1.5 million-gallon new dolphin complicated, to deal with the crowds which have descended on the aquarium since “Dolphin Story” was launched a decade in the past.

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