In Memory of Panama:
Clearwater Marine Aquarium is sad to announce the passing of our beloved dolphin Panama. The University of Florida Aquatic Animal Health Division will conduct a necropsy in conjunction with CMA. Panama was our oldest dolphin with an age estimated in the mid-30's, and as such, was in the latter years of her life.
Panama came to CMA from Gulf World in Panama City after stranding there on October 21, 2000. After receiving several months of rehabilitative care for anemia and severe sunburn, the National Marine Fisheries and Wildlife Service determined she would not be a successful candidate for release and so she was transferred to her new home at CMA on March 23, 2001.
For 12 years, Panama brought joy to heart of thousands of visitors to CMA and taught them the importance of marine wildlife conservation. When Winter came to CMA in 2005, Panama quickly adopted her as a surrogate daughter. Panama was believed to be deaf, and as such, worked with hearing impaired kids to inspire them to live successfully with their life challenge. In 2012, Panama met our youngest dolphin, Hope, and all three quickly bonded. Panama will always be remembered for her sweet nature and eagerness to play. We all have fond memories of Panama and will miss her greatly.
FACT: Among the most damaging human interactions is feeding wild dolphins, even more than the risk of boat collisions or injury from the churning propellers. Although feeding wild dolphins is seemingly harmless, dolphins often become sick and strand or die as a result of eating dead fish thrown to them by boaters. This "begging behavior" is even more problematic because female beggars like Panama would unfortunately teach her calves and other dolphins to beg for fish rather than teach natural foraging skills required to survive in the wild. Thus, this type of human interaction affects many more animals and has a much greater impact over time.
In Memory of Indy:
Indy passed unexpectedly in the early morning hours on Friday, March 25th, 2011.
CMA rescued Indy in May, 2004, from Indian Rocks Beach, Florida. He was in critical condition when found, unable to swim, and had sustained shark and dolphin bites over his entire body. The more serious bite wounds were lacerations on his peduncle and a severed fluke. Indy's wounds were treated aggressively on a daily basis and healed completely over the course of several months.
Indy's ability to survive on his own in the wild came into question since past releases of juveniles had low success rates (compared to adults). The primary concern was whether Indy would be able to sustain his weight in the wild since he had stranded significantly underweight and refused to eat live fish in captivity (even despite 24-hour fasting). Additionally, a young juvenile such as Indy would still be dependent on his mother for the next three to four years in order to acquire life skills, which he obviously lacks based on his overall condition when he stranded. Finally it was decided Indy would become a permanent CMA resident.
Indy loved to vocalize and learn new behaviors. Indy, you will be missed!
May You Rest in Peace...
In Memory of Sunset Sam:
Sunset Sam was the first dolphin in Florida to survive a beaching in1984. setting standards by which rehabilitated dolphins may be released. His contributions to science were numerous and significant. However, due to chronic liver problems, Sunset could not be released.
Sunset Sam learned to paint, and he really enjoyed it. His unique style appealed to so many people, and his work is known throughout the world. The proceeds from his paintings help the Clearwater Marine Aquarium fund our operations and stranding program. Sunset Sam's participation in the Clearwater Marine Aquarium's Full Circle Programs affected the lives of many handicapped children. Without Dr. Goldston's medical expertise, Sunset Sam never would have survived past 1984, and we all would have lost 17 years of enlightenment and sunshine.
May You Rest in Peace...