The Amazing Tale Behind Winter's Bionic Tail


Word Count

510 words

Reading Level

Listen to Article

While hundreds of movies are made each year, only a handful are truly memorable - One of the most recent examples is 'Dolphin Tale', the fascinating story about a Bottlenose dolphin that lost its tail in a crab trap. While the movie is fairly accurate it is, 'inspired' by the true events, which means that some parts are fictional, added just to make the movie more appealing. Here, is how 'Winter's Tail' tale truly unfolded.

It all began on a cold December morning in 2005. As was his daily routine, Florida fisherman Jim Savage, launched his skiff and set off to his favorite fishing hole in Mosquito Lagoon. Suddenly, he noticed a buoy bobbing against the wind. Curious, he decided to check it out.

As he got closer, he heard some strange noises and then, he saw it - A baby dolphin caught inside a crab trap, struggling to break free. The more the little one tried, the more entangled she became in the ropes and net. Jim immediately got out his knife and began to cut through the entangled mess. When he finally managed to free her, the baby dolphin could not go very far because the crab net had cut off the blood supply to her tail and damaged it badly.

Realizing that the dolphin was in distress, Jim called the Hubb-Sea World Research Institute who helped get the three-month old to shore and then whisked her away onto an awaiting ambulance for a five-hour journey to her new home - The Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Since she had been rescued on a cold winter day, they decided to name the little dolphin 'Winter'.

Winter's tail tale did not get any better when she was examined by the experts at the Aquarium. Turned out that in order to save her life, the veterinarians had to amputate her tail, leaving her with only a stump. Even after that, they were not sure she would survive. As for swimming? That seemed completely out of question!

However, the little dolphin turned out to be a real trooper - Instead of just resting on the mats that had been provided for her in the water by the Aquarium, she began to attempt swimming with her stump. However, since she could not move her stump up and down like normal dolphins, she 'swam' by moving it side-to-side, which experts feared would end up hurting her spine.

Then, a miracle happened - The Aquarium received a call from a company called Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics Inc. who offered to build a prosthetic tail for Winter. Collaborating with a local doctor, they created a silicone and plastic prosthetic and fitted it where Winter's original tail had been and the rest as they say, is history.

Today, Winter is the star attraction of the Aquarium, providing inspiration to many people who have lost their limbs due to accidents. Her movie, in which she stars as herself, will only help inspire thousands more all over the world, for many many years to come - What an amazing tail tale!


Cite Article
Learn Keywords in this Article