Winter, The Beloved "Dolphin Tale" Star, Passes Away At Florida Aquarium

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Winter, a bottlenose dolphin, starred in two movies based on her life (Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium)

Winter, the prosthetic-tailed dolphin whose story inspired a book and two heartwarming movies, died on November 12, 2021. The 16-year-old had been suffering from an intestinal blockage since November 1, 2021. The doctors at Florida's Clearwater Marine Aquarium tried several life-saving efforts but were unable to help the beloved mammal.

"She's the strongest little dolphin that I have ever met, and we learned so much from her and have been privileged to have 16 wonderful years with her," Dr. Shelly Marquardt, a veterinarian with the aquarium, stated.

Winter was brought to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2005 (Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium)

Winter's uplifting story began began on a tumultuous note on December 2005 when her tail got caught in a crab trap line. Florida fisher Jim Savage untangled the three-month-old dolphin and rushed her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. While the dolphin — fittingly named Winter — survived, her badly-injured tail had to be amputated.

Believing she would be unable to swim, the aquarium's health experts placed the young dolphin on a special mat in the water. However, Winter was not going to let a "minor" inconvenience like a missing tail get in her way. She began using her stump to swim side-to-side. While seeing the determined dolphin moving was encouraging, doctors feared it would hurt her spine. Fortunately, two prosthetic experts at the Hanger Clinic heard about Winter's plight and made her a custom silicone and plastic tail.

Winter (L) meets rescued bottlenose dolphin Hope (Credit: Clearwater Marine Aquarium)

Winter's determination and perseverance gave hope to people worldwide, especially those living with disabilities. Grace Savage was one of them. The grandniece of the fisher who rescued the dolphin in 2005 suffers from velocardiofacial syndrome. The genetic condition can cause heart defects and a poor immune system. "She gives us inspiration and to never give up," Savage told FOX 13 during her 2019 aquarium visit.

Rest In Peace, Winter


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  • ponygirl11
    ponygirl1114 days
    Poor Winter 😢 I love dolphins and this made me sad to see, I mean I don't like to see any animal die but dolphins are to cute and animals with prosthetic limbs are so sad to see that they have no choice but to give up 😢
    • kawaii12
      kawaii1214 days
      this. is. too. saaaaaad!!!!!! 😭
      • schildel000
        Long live dolphins . . .Long live winter.
        • waseluzozafa
          waseluzozafaabout 1 month
          poor dolphans i love them sooooooooooo much and now im sad R.I.P
        • bwgray01
          bwgray019 months
          R.I.P my brother loves dolphans
          • 6600358
            660035810 months
            Winter will be forever in my heart. Everyone just remember she's in a better place right now. Yes, its sad but it was her time. Everything happens for a reason.❤
            • nopofejydyze
              nopofejydyze10 months
              We will always have loved u
              • christmas25
                christmas2510 months
                Nooooo!!! Winter She was the best, she played in the movie Dolphin Tale 1 and 2 I'm in tears!!😭
                • love-art
                  love-art11 months
                  I'm so sad. Dolphins are my favorite animal so I love them.Ive watched the movie dolphin tale 1 and 2 at least 10 times...R.I.P😔
                  • bunnyjoyful_sab
                    Awe that is so sad