Funding comes from admission and program fees, grants, and donations.
Yes, our full-time veterinarian is Dr. Shelly Marquardt.
We use frozen restaurant quality fish, which allows us to keep a high standard of food quality for our animals.
Most of our animal care specialists recommend courses in psychology, and biology fields, such as marine biology, zoology and general biology. Volunteering and/or interning at a facility such as ours is also very helpful.
Yes, we can assist with the rescue of manatees, but we don’t have the space and permits needed to rehab them or care for them as residents.
CMA has about 600-900 volunteers and interns on the rolls at any given time. The higher numbers are during the summer, with our junior volunteers, and during turtle nesting season. We have many staff members who also volunteer in another department on a weekly basis! For more information on becoming a volunteer or intern, visit our volunteer section.
We can perform cytology, blood cell counts, hematocrits (PCV), total protein values, blood glucose, examine fecal samples and test gastric samples for salinity.
Human food is very bad for our animals and there’s a possibility it could spill from a container and fall into one of their pools. Also, food often comes in packaging that could be harmful to our dolphins, otters and turtles if ingested. For these reasons, we ask our guests to enjoy their food on the first floor only, and away from the animal exhibits.
Cooper and Walle have been separated for a variety of reasons: Cooper was struck by a motor vehicle and suffered paralysis as a result, so his habitat is modified specifically to accommodate his disability.Cooper is a lot older than Walle, which means Walle is much more active than Cooper. Out in the wild, otters tend to be territorial, so we would not want to put them in a situation here where they would feel the need to defend their territory.
Although they are not together in the same habitat, they do have holes through the divider, which allows them to experience each other safely.
She is a female dolphin, just like her best friend Hope.
Winter lives in an environment with Hope, our newest dolphin resident.
She was just two months old. Normally, baby dolphins, called calves, will stay with their mothers for one to three years, but Winter was all alone.
A fisherman found her, and cut the line and called a rescue team. She was close to the surface when she was tangled up – otherwise, she wouldn’t have been able to breathe.
Rescue teams from Harbor Branch Institute and Hubbs-Seaworld Research Institute worked with Clearwater Marine Aquarium to save Winter and bring her to CMA. They also rescued CMA’s newest dolphin resident, Hope.
She was found in the month of December, so was named after the chilly season in which she was rehabilitated.
While no one knows her true date of birth, the team at CMA estimated her birthday to be October 10, 2005, as she was only two months old when she was rescued. When filming the movie in 2010, she was only five, making her the youngest movie star on set!
That one is a tie – she likes capelin and silversides, two different types of fish she is fed at CMA. She was still drinking milk when she arrived at CMA, so has never had to hunt for fish.
She loves floating around on her mat.
Winter enjoys the attention she gets from all the guests that come to visit her, as heard through her characteristic “tweety-bird” whistle! However, at times she will choose to rest in various locations of the pool, including underwater, or in a portion of the habitat where she is less visible. It is our goal to afford Winter, and all of our animals, an opportunity to make these choices as they see fit!
The limelight suited her well. The big cameras and lights were a change for her, but her trainers worked for a long time before the movie crew arrived to get her used to all that new equipment. Once filming began, Winter had a great time.
You can visit Winter every day at Clearwater Marine Aquarium for a great opportunity to learn more about her and her story. Following Winter on Facebook or signing up for our newsletter are other great ways to get the latest updates on her progress. You can also watch her online via her live webcam.
Her trainers worked really hard to make sure she was comfortable with the tail before they put it on. The trainers and Winter worked together to exercise and practice moving her tail stump up and down without the tail so that she would be strong enough to wear it. Then, once the first tail was ready, they allowed her to check it out and get used to the new and strange object before sliding it on.
The first tail was a lot smaller than the ones she wears today, because she was a lot smaller then too! As she grew, they kept making the tails larger, just like you might get new shoes when your feet get bigger. With each new tail model, they try new things, making it more comfortable and beneficial for her to wear.
Wearing the tail is hard work because it makes Winter exercise a part of her body she does not normally use. It is important for her to do this and it is getting easier with more practice.
Winter’s tail is for physical therapy – to keep her spine and muscles healthy by exercising and stretching them. She only wears the tail for about an hour or less every day.
Winter swims just fine without the tail. It is used for physical therapy to help reduce the curvature of her back area (the peduncle) caused by her side-to-side swimming motion. Also, dolphin skin is incredibly sensitive. Like other bottlenose dolphins, Winter sheds a layer of skin every two hours. If she wore the tail too long, it could actually hurt her skin and make the tail uncomfortable.
Yes, in a side-to-side motion. She learned how to do this by herself but she does need to wear her tail to keep her muscles and spine healthy.