CMA Dolphin Story: Hope (A.K.A., Winter’s Sister)


Hope

Hope is the most curious of the four dolphins at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

On December 11th, 2010 (about five years and one day after Winter’s rescue), Hope, who was estimated to be two to three months old, was found attempting to nurse from the carcass of her dead mother in Indian River Lagoon, FL. Due to being parentless, Hope was transfered to Clearwater Marine Aquarium under orders of the US National Marine Services for rehabilitation purposes. She has suffered from trauma and at the time of her rescue, her condition was believed to be fragile. Not only was she found in the same region in Florida where Winter was found, she was also rescued by the same two organizations that found Winter too. During her first few weeks at CMA, Hope was given 24 hour care by both the staff and volunteers and she was fed every two hours. Since she’s a young calf, Hope  is fed by bottle. The formula in the bottle is made with a combination of fish, powdered milk substitute, and water that is all blended together to created a “fish milkshake”. Today, Hope, who lives at the Dolphin Deck Exhibit, is almost one year old and weights in at 150 pounds (she’s is continuing to grow constantly!).  Hope was declared “non-releasable” in early 2011 due to her young age at the time of  rescue. This is because Hope was never taught to neither hunt or defend herself from her mother, who she would have stayed with for up to six years in the wild. Although people can teach a dolphin how to hunt, they can’t teach them how to identify which animals are  predators, how to avoid boats, and use sonar to navigate through murky waters. So, instead, she will continue to reside at Clearwater Marine Aquarium as permanent resident. Hope has been fully trained to do various behaviors for medical, mental, and developmental purposes. She is also being taught how to swallow fish on her own. The ultimate goal is to introduce Hope to Winter and eventually pair them up as sisters once she has been weaned off the bottle completely.

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