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Winter, star of 'Dolphin Tale' movies, falls ill at Florida aquarium

The prosthetic-tailed dolphin may be fighting a gastrointestinal infection, Clearwater Marine Aquarium officials said.
Image: Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Fla.
Winter the dolphin at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Fla., on Aug. 31, 2011.Chris O'Meara / AP dilw
/ Source: Associated Press

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The prosthetic-tailed dolphin that starred in the “Dolphin Tale” movies may be fighting a gastrointestinal infection, officials said.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium said in a news release on Sunday that staff members noticed on Nov. 1 that Winter was not eating and was acting abnormally. Initial bloodwork showed the possible infection.

The aquarium’s care team is monitoring the 16-year-old dolphin’s condition around the clock, the news release said. She is in the aquarium’s center pool, which does not have public underwater viewing. Visitors to the aquarium may see Winter from above the water on the third floor terrace.

“Her story of survival has inspired millions of people around the world, and she continues to show a strong, determined, and fighting spirit,” the news release said. “Our dedicated staff will continue to keep a close watch on her through this healing process and provide her with the highest quality of care.”

Winter was just two months old when her tail became entangled in a crab trap near Cape Canaveral, on Florida’s Atlantic Coast. “Dolphin Tale,” which was released in 2011, chronicled Winter’s recovery and her journey using a prosthetic tail. Three years later, “Dolphin Tale 2″ also starred Hope, another rescued Dolphin cared for by the Clearwater aquarium.

Aquarium officials said no other animals or marine life at the facility have shown signs of illness.