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Clearwater aquarium cares for rescued baby dolphin

CLEARWATER — Five years and one day after the rescue of its most famous resident, Winter the dolphin, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium received a familiar call Saturday.

Another dolphin needed help.

This one, a baby discovered in the same area of the Indian River as Winter, was found trying to nurse from its dead mother.

As filming wrapped at the aquarium on the Hollywood movie featuring Winter, a team from Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute hurried to the lagoon near Parrish Park on Florida's east coast, where it searched for the pair for more than three hours.

With the help of a boat from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's manatee program, the dolphin was caught at 6 p.m., said Teresa Mazza, a Hubbs-SeaWorld team member who had also helped rescue Winter.

The dolphin, which rescuers have not yet named, was taken in a marine animal ambulance to the Clearwater aquarium. Just after 11 p.m., rescuers carried the 40 to 60 pound dolphin into the building, and a crane lifted her into a tank.

A necropsy will be performed on the mother to determine the cause of death, said David Yates, the aquarium's chief executive officer.

The baby dolphin, which is about 2 to 3 months old, will be monitored closely.

"Her prognosis we think is good," said Yates. "But she went through a lot of trauma, so it is very much hour by hour."

Winter was found in 2005 with her tail tangled in a buoy line. Her injuries were so severe that she lost her tail. She received national attention after learning to swim with a prosthetic tail.

As the newly rescued baby dolphin received care Saturday night, a wrap party for Winter's movie was taking place at a restaurant next door.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3374.

Clearwater aquarium cares for rescued baby dolphin 12/12/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 13, 2010 9:52am]
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