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Hope's Story

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Species: Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops Truncatus)

Stranded: 12/11/10, Indian River Lagoon, FL

Story: Found as an orphan with her deceased mother at 2-3 months old and raised by CMA volunteers on fish-flavored formula. Unable to feed herself or recognize predators in the wild, Hope is now a permanent resident at CMA.

Personality: Adventurous and curious

Loves: Blowing and playing with bubbles, water toys like squirt guns

Known For: Being the youngest dolphin at CMA, only 2 years old!

Can Be Found: Splashing and playing with water toys like squirt guns, water hoses, &watering cans

Did You Know? Hope was found very close to the location where Winter was found, exactly 5 years and 1 day later!

stranded calf arrives at night.mp4 from Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Vimeo.

Hope's Tale:

On December 11, 2010, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute received the initial call that a dolphin calf had been found in Indian River Lagoon on the East Coast of Florida. A local fisherman spotted her in the shallow waters of the lagoon with her mother. Hope was attempting to nurse from her mother, but unfortunately her mother had passed away. When the first responders arrived on site, they evaluated the dolphin calf and in coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service it was determined that she would be transported to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation. Thanks to Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute arrangement of transportation of Hope to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium was made possible.

Ironically, Hope and Winter share several similarities in the circumstances of their rescues. First, they were both rescued near similar locations, both were within the Indian River Lagoon System. Second, the same institutes, Hubbs Sea World Research Institute and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, aided in both rescues and initial care of the calves. Third, Hope was rescued exactly 5 years and 1 day after Winter had been rescued. Hope even arrived to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the day of the wrap up party for filming "Dolphin Tale" (movie about Winter's life).

At the time of her rescue, Hope was estimated to be about 2-3 months old. She weighed about 58 pounds and was extremely dehydrated from the lack of milk and nutrition she would have gained from her mother. It was ultimately determined that Hope did not make a good candidate for release because she was very young and had not learned the necessary survival skills to be out in the wild. Bottlenose dolphin calves will stay will stay associated with their mothers for several years and during that time they learn all the necessary survival skills.

During her rehabilitation process, Embassy Blue Institute and Ocean Embassy were consulted to assist with Hope's initial care and formula. At the time of her rescue she would have been still nursing from her mother and in fact she did not possess any teeth yet. Bottlenose dolphins nurse until they are 18-20 months old. Her formula consisted of chopped up herring, powdered milk substitute, vitamins, oils and water. It was then blended together to create a fish milkshake. In the beginning, Hope was given 24 hour care and fed every two hours. With assistance from Ocean Embassy, the staff has taught Hope several behaviors for medical care, mental stimulation, and exercise.

Currently Hope is doing great, she has been completely weaned off her formula and is now on a whole fish diet.