Winter the dolphin lost her tail at three months old when she got entangled in a crab trap off the coast of Florida. She was brought in to Clearwater Marine Aquarium where she received a unique gift -- a prosthetic tail that would allow her to swim like a normal dolphin. It's been five years since Winter got her new tail, and her fame has brought gads of visitors to the aquarium, bringing numbers up from 7,000 in July five years ago to 35,000 this year. Winter's story is amazing -- amazing enough that she now has her own movie coming out next month starring Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, and Morgan Freeman. Check out the trailer above, and watch a short video about Winter's story. Warner Bros. Pictures and Alcon Entertainment figure that Winter's story is perfect for the big screen. Dolphin Tale was quite a project for the cast, but even more so for Winter herself.
Huffington Post writes:
[Krista Rosado, director of marketing at Clearwater Marine Aquarium] said she expects the film will impact the aquarium's bottom line, but admits making it affected Winter in other ways.
"Although she is a dolphin who has spent the majority of her life with humans, we had to acclimate her to the filmmaking process by holding up fake cameras around her in the pool starting months before [shooting began]," Rosado said. "Otherwise, her face would have been right up in the camera lens just out of curiosity."
Winter has a chance to make a big splash as a film star in the movie, but Martin, who helps train her, doesn't think success will go to her head.
Winter may become the most well-known dolphin since Flipper. And who knows -- perhaps the popularity of this captive dolphin will bring more attention to the bigger issues of captive dolphins, including how they're caught.
Winter's story is (thankfully) entirely different from that of many dolphins who end up in aquatic entertainment facilities like Sea World. As WSPA reports, "In many dolphin hunts, including those in Japan, the hundreds of animals not selected for live sale are butchered inhumanely for meat. Many dolphins do not survive the trauma of capture. Of those that do, 53% die within three months of confinement. Captive dolphins also suffer and die from intestinal disease, stress-related illness and chlorine poisoning."
Unlike many facilities with captive dolphins, the aquarium where Winter was raised has done everything in its power to save her from death and give her a great life since she wouldn't survive in the wild. The aquarium's motto is "Rescue, Rehabilitate, Return." Perhaps Winter will help show off the best of what aquariums can offer for animals, and bring awareness to the level of care, and freedom, we want to see these incredibly intelligent animals enjoy.
Dolphin Tale comes out on September 23rd. Mark your calendars!
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