'Dolphin Tale' star Winter is in critical condition, says Clearwater aquarium

The aquarium will reopen to the public on Saturday at 10 a.m.

click to enlarge SEEWINTER/FACEBOOK

Winter the dolphin’s illness has intensified and her condition is now critical, according to her caregivers at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

On Monday, the aquarium announced the “Dolphin Tale” star and beloved rescued dolphin was fighting a gastrointestinal infection. Winter’s animal care team noticed last week that she wasn’t eating or behaving normally. Tests indicated an infection, and Winter has been undergoing treatment ever since.

Now, the aquarium said it’s consulting with animal care experts from around the country and “exploring all possible options to save Winter’s life.”

Today, test results show that despite treatment her intestinal abnormalities have intensified,” the aquarium said in a post on Twitter. The tweet also included a short video showing Winter’s team running tests and caring for the dolphin in and out of the water.

In an update posted to its website, the aquarium said it will be closed to guests on Friday to give space to the animal care team helping Winter. CMA will reopen at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“On behalf of the CMA staff and Winter’s care team, we thank everyone for the incredible outpour of love and support you have shown Winter since her rescue in 2005 and especially these last few days,” the aquarium wrote. “Many are inspired by her resiliency and this amazing response reminds us of how deeply she has affected millions, including so many on their own health journey.”

Dec. 5 will mark 16 years since Winter was rescued after being trapped in a crab line, which had cut circulation to her tail. While most dolphins, especially in the wild, wouldn’t survive without a tail, Winter was fitted with a prosthetic and thrived.

Her story became the inspiration for “Dolphin Tale” and “Dolphin Tale 2” starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. And, both films were shot in Pinellas County.

The aquarium said it will share updates on Winter as they become available.

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About The Author

Chelsea Zukowski

Freelance contributor Chelsea Zukowski is a Tampa Bay native who started her journalism career in 2014 at the Tampa Bay Times, working her way up from editorial assistant to entertainment reporter and copy editor. After four years in print, she moved on to broadcast as a digital producer with 10 Tampa Bay-WTSP,...
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