“Dolphin Tale” Puts The Incredible Works of Marine Life Facilities In the Spotlight


Sully, an orphaned pilot whale from Curacao who was rescued by the Dolphin Academy in 2009 and was deemed "non-releasable" after it was determined he could not survive on his own. He was adopted into the SeaWorld family at it's sister park in San Diego, California in 2010 where he currently resides. He's a testimony to SeaWorld's commitment to helping rescued and orphaned animals get a second chance at life. Photo by SeaWorld.

Since last week’s release of Winter’s movie Dolphin Tale, marine life facilities around the world, including Clearwater marine Aquarium and SeaWorld, have been given the long overdue attention and critical praises they deserve. This is because of their extraordinary work to use their wildlife expertise to rescue, rehabilitate and release animals in need.  Not so many people know this but in fact, SeaWorld’s rescue team was the first to rescue Dolphin Tale star Winter in Mosquito Lagoon Florida nearly six years ago from crab trap entanglement.  However, Winter and Sully are not the only animals who owe their lives to incredible workings of zoological facilities.  In fact, they respond to thousands of animal rescues each year ranging from injured pelicans, to  orphaned marine mammals, to cold-stunned sea turtles. Here is are two examples of some amazing animal rescues performed by zoo professionals:

Saturn, endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle rescued off Cape Cod Bay in 2010. Photo By the New England Aquarium rescue team

Rescued in Dennis, Massachusetts in December 2010, Saturn the sea turtle was cold-stunned and was suffering from severe pneumonia. As a result, she was admitted to the New England Aquarium’s sea turtle hospital in Quincy, MA. There, she was treated for recurring pneumonia and her case led to multiple biopsies and CAT-scans over a seven-month period. Her last CAT-scan in June revealed that the pneumonia had cleared up. She was released off Cape Cod on August 13th, 2011.

Mystic Aquarium's latest rescue, a blind harp seal pup.

In August 2009, a juvenile harp seal pup was sent to Mystic Aquarium for rehabilitation after it was determined that he was less alert and responsive. There, he was treated for stomach problems that were related to him eating rocks; he was also treated for both skin and eye-related problems. However, further exams on his eyes concluded that he had suffer from a birth defect that caused him to be blind and his blindness was not treatable. As a result, the pup was deemed “non-releasable” by the US National Marine Fisheries Service. He was moved to the Detroit Zoo in December of that year where he currently resides.

These, like many other animal cases are very unique and it allows the rescue staff to learn about them, and even help save their species from extinction.  No rescue, no case is ever the same. Anytime and anywhere a rescue team will be there anywhere both in good times, and in bad times.

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