Winter was found stranded in Mosquito Lagoon, near Cape Canaveral, Florida when she was only two months old, entangled in a crab trap line which cut off circulation to her tail flukes. After disentanglement, she was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for treatment of her extensive injuries. However, despite exhaustive efforts to promote healing, her tail deteriorated and could not be saved. Her story is unusual – most dolphins trapped in monofilament and crab trap lines do not survive. Despite overwhelming odds against survival, Winter’s energy and ability to adapt to her new physical form surpassed expectations. She recovered completely, adapted to a new swim pattern and learned to eat fish on her own… about 12 pounds a day!
Winter’s case was one of the most difficult for CMA. Her story is a bittersweet realization of the dangers faced by animals as a result of human activities in the wild, such as fishery interactions. Through these types of interactions, dolphins and other marine life often become susceptible to entanglement and digestion of fishing line or other gear that can cause them to become injured, ill or potentially lead to their death. In order to mitigate these impacts and conserve these species, it is critical for us to do our part and keep our oceans clean and recycle and promote laws and regulations that improve upon fishing practices. Together, we can make a difference!
Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., together with Dr. Mike Walsh, CMA’s marine mammal veterinarian of record, and our world-class marine mammal trainers, created a unique plan to attach a prosthetic tail to Winter.
Winter is missing her entire tail fluke and joint. Tail flukes are the powerhouse of the dolphin and are attached to the peduncle, the muscular part of the dolphin. To swim naturally, a dolphin moves the peduncle up and down and the tail flukes propel the dolphin forward.
Species: Atlantic bottlenose dolphin
Origin: Mosquito Lagoon, FL
Diet: Capelin and silversides
Winter and the story of her prosthetic tail has inspired millions to persevere through life’s toughest obstacles. Learn more about the lives she’s touched and their own inspirational stories.
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