Hope the Dolphin

Hope the Dolphin

Hope the dolphin

Hope the Dolphin

Hope’s Rescue Story

On December 11, 2010, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute received a 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, attempting to nurse from her deceased mother. When first responders arrived, they evaluated the dolphin calf and, in coordination with National Marine Fisheries Service, determined she should be transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation.


At the time of her rescue, Hope was estimated to be 2-3 months old. She weighed 58 pounds and was extremely dehydrated, lacking the milk she should have received from her mother. CMA was able to provide care and nutrition to nurse her back to full recovery.

RehabilitationHope the dolphin

During her rehabilitation process, Embassy Blue Institute and Ocean Embassy were consulted to assist with Hope’s initial care and formula. As a nursing calf at the time of her rescue, she did not possess any teeth. Bottlenose dolphins nurse until they are 18-20 months old. Her formula consisted of blended herring, powdered milk substitute, vitamins, oils and water. In the beginning, Hope was given 24-hour care and fed every two hours.

Although it is our goal to return every animal to their natural habitat, Hope did not make a good candidate for release because she was very young and had not yet learned the necessary skills to survive in the wild. Bottlenose dolphin calves learn these skills from their mothers, to whom they remain close for several years.

Hope Today

Currently, Hope is six years old and flourishing. She has been weaned and is now on a whole fish diet. Hope’s animal care specialists have taught her several behaviors for medical care, mental stimulation and exercise. She is adventurous, extremely curious and loves blowing and playing with bubbles and water toys, especially squirt guns.

Hope & Winter

Hope and Winter share several similarities in the circumstances of their rescues. Hope was found very close to the location where Winter was found, exactly five years and one day later! They were both rescued within the Indian River Lagoon system by Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. Hope arrived at Clearwater Marine Aquarium on the day of the wrap party for filming Dolphin Tale. They can often be found swimming and playing together in the Winter Zone. Visit them today!

More Facts About Hope

Species: Atlantic bottlenose dolphin

Origin:  Indian River Lagoon, FL

Sex: Female

Age: 7 (Birthday: Est. October 5, 2010)

Diet: Capelin, silversides and herring

Original footage of Hope the dolphin’s rescue

Dolphin webcam

Watch Live Webcams of Winter, Hope, Nicholas, Otters, Sea Turtles and Pelicans!

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Daily Presentations (Winter Zone):
You can see Winter and Hope any time of the day when we are open. Presentation times change daily.

Daily Presentations (Stranding Deck):
The Stranding Deck is home to Nicholas the Dolphin.

  • Dolphin Anatomy Game —10:00 am, 2:00 pm
  • Resident Dolphin Talk — 11:30 am, 1:30 pm, 3:30 pm
  • Rescue Demonstration — 12:00 pm, 4:00 pm
  • Tail Talk — 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm
All presentations are subject to change in location and time due to scheduling and weather.
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Winter Zone

Winter and Hope

Stranding Deck



Dolphin Care Experience
Work next to a CMA Animal Care Specialist. Includes feeding and poolside activity with a resident dolphin.

Dolphin and Animal Care Assistant
Assist with dolphin, otter and pelican care for a day, including food preparation and animal enrichment.

Dolphin Photo Opportunities
Have your photo taken with one of our resident dolphins. Includes a souvenir photo.


Dolphin Tale movie poster with cast above and Sawyer swimming toward Winter the dolphinDolphin Tale 2 movie poster with Winter and Hope meeting and cast below

Dolphin Tale was produced by Warner Brothers and Alcon Entertainment and released nationwide in theaters around the world on September 23, 2011. Winter played herself in Dolphin Tale, together with Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick, Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff and Nathan Gamble. CMA was closed to the public for three months while filming was underway; however, CMA remained a 24-hour working animal hospital during this time.
Read more about the Dolphin Tale movies.


Duke Energy Coca-Cola Bay Star Allegiant Dolphin Motor Coach