Winter the Dolphin Reaches More Milestones
Photos/Text by Renee Burrell
Mmmm…Volunteers made Winter a dolphin's dream cake for her 3rd birthday celebration
CLEARWATER BEACH - Three years ago, Winter was in critical condition after being rescued from a crab trap and lost her tail. She wasn't expected to live long. But, happily, after being rehabilitated by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) she celebrated her third birthday on October 10th.. Well wishers cheered Winter on her own 'special day' wherein she received the gift of a new prosthetic tail and a dolphin favorite-- fish-ice cake.
Winter was officially honored with an official proclamation from Clearwater's Mayor Frank Hibbard. Hibbard named Winter's 3rd birthday "Winter the Dolphin Day". He proclaimed, "WHEREAS, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is proud to be home to Winter the tailless dolphin, the most famous animal in the world and the only dolphin in the United States with a prosthetic tail; and WHEREAS, Clearwater Marine Aquarium celebrates October 10, 2008 as Winter’s 3rd birthday and honors her for positively impacting the lives of people of all ages all over the world by having the will to survive and thrive; and WHEREAS, founded on March 23, 1972, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a unique working animal hospital that specializes in the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sick or injured marine animals; and WHEREAS, Clearwater Marine Aquarium is proud to be known for educating area residents and visiting tourists about the importance of protecting and preserving our waters and marine life; and WHEREAS, in 2007, Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff rescued 100 marine animals (including dolphins, sea turtles, otters and manatees) and released 18 sea turtles back into their natural habitats; and WHEREAS, Winter is a ray of shining light that has brought massive positive attention to Clearwater through local, national and international media acclaim. This amazing dolphin has bettered the lives of countless people and touched the hearts of millions."
During the party, Winter received an updated prosthetic tail from Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, which she tried out for the first time. The new tail has a smaller dynamic tail joint, and features energy returning cables and joints made from stainless steel, making it the strongest and most accurate tail she's been fitted with thus far.
"This model is expected to provide enough force to actually allow Winter to move herself forward," said Director of Animal Care Diane Young. "We have been working for 18 months to get her used to wearing a prosthetic tail, and this one represents a huge technological advancement"
Winter was also presented with a colorful frozen fish cake and three candles, which, of course, she splashed out after her well wishers sang the Happy Birthday song.
CMA is the only aquarium in the Western Hemisphere that cares for a dolphin that swims with a prosthetic tail. See Winter there at 249 Windward Passage or visit her online at: SeeWinter.com
For information via telephone, call: 727-441-1790.
You go girl! The preliminary trial of Winter's new tail went swimmingly
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