Human Interest

Florida aquarium that was home to Winter welcomes new rescued dolphin

Miami, Dec 14 (EFE).- The Clearwater Marine Aquarium in the US state of Florida is welcoming a new rescued dolphin just days after organizing a memorial for Winter, whose story of survival inspired the films “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2.”

“December proves to be a magical month for rescued resident dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium,” that center said in announcing Tuesday that the National Marine Fisheries Service has chosen it to be the “forever home to a new rescued male dolphin.”

Apollo, so-named because he was found in waters near the John F. Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, is two years old and will live at the same site that Winter shared with resident dolphins Hope, PJ, Nicholas and Hemingway, the CMA said in a statement.

“We are overjoyed to welcome a new family member to CMA,” said Kelly Martin, that marine park’s vice president of Zoological Care.

“Coming off the heels of Winter’s rescue anniversary on December 11th and her death in November, this new dolphin is a burst of new life and energy that our team is so excited to embrace.”

That aquarium located on Florida’s West coast recalled on Tuesday that the bottlenose dolphins Hope, Nicholas and the rough-toothed dolphin Rudolph that live at the CMA were all rescued during the month of December.

Apollo became stranded on May 15, 2021, on Playalinda Beach, Florida, about 20 miles from where Winter was rescued in 2005.

Unlike Winter, who was found entangled in a crab trap swimming in Mosquito Lagoon, Apollo was discovered on the beach, the CMA said.

The rescuers observed that Apollo was thin and had visible parasites on his dorsal fin, pectoral fins and fluke.

“After nearly seven months of intensive treatment and rehabilitation (at SeaWorld Orlando), Apollo’s health improved and we had every hope that he would make a complete recovery and be able to return to his natural environment,” Jon Peterson, vice president of Zoological Operations at SeaWorld Orlando, said.

“Unfortunately, a hearing test performed by the National Marine Mammal Foundation revealed that Apollo has atypical hearing loss compromising his ability to echolocate,” and therefore was determined unfit for release.

Apollo is just over six feet long and weighs about 200 pounds and can be visited at his new home at the CMA’s Ruth & J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex.

Winter, who became famous after losing her tail (and getting a prosthetic one) and then appearing in the Dolphin Tale movies, died at the CMA in November after a battle with a severe gastrointestinal infection, the aquarium said. EFE


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