We can’t thank everyone enough for sharing all of your precious memories and outpouring of love for Panama. Our hope is to create a special Memorial Plaque in celebration of her life and to serve as a symbol of her spirit, the love she shared and the souls she touched. We hope that you will help us pay homage to her cherished spirit by making a contribution to her Memorial Plaque.

How to Contribute: When you purchase a limited edition large silver Panama Fluke Pendant (designed to resemble Panama’s fluke as pictured), a portion of the proceeds will go towards this commemorative plaque. The pendant will be engraved with “Panama 2013” and cost $50.

If you are interested, please email ebaker@cmaquarium.org with your name and contact information by Friday, October 11. Please share this with anyone you believe may be interested. Spread the love.


Posted in Animals, dolphins, 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.

Please share with us your favorite memories of Panama.

Posted in Animals, Panama

When hearing the word breach one may instantly think of a humpback whale gracefully jumping out of the water and landing on their side. There are several species of marine life that partake in this natural behavior. However it is unclear as to the exact reason why an animal may breach, however, some reasons could include socialization, warning predators, or play.

Part of our training includes teaching our animals natural behaviors that they would have learned in the wild. Why teach them natural behaviors? Many of them require large amounts of energy thus providing the animal with exercise. Just like exercise for people and their pets is important to maintain good health, exercise is critical for maintaining good health of our residents. Several of these behaviors may include bows (jumps), flips, tail walk, side breach, and much more.

Currently Panama already knows how to do a side breach and may see her occasionally participating in this behavior on her own. However, John and Sue have been working very closely with Panama for the last several months teaching her to offer this behavior on an Sd (hand signal). This way we can ask her for this behavior to provide her with exercise. Not only would this provide exercise it will also provide a degree of mental stimulation because she will be given the Sd (hand signal) and would have to use her brain to determine what behavior she is to offer.

Sue and John are working on her height and run of her side breach using a target pole. She is progressing well and will hopefully begin fading out the target pole soon. Join us in the Winter Zone to see her progression!

Posted in Panama

Panama learning her new dorsal tow behavior.

Panama, CMA’s oldest resident dolphin and Winter’s surrogate mother, is in the beginning stages of learning her new dorsal tow behavior. Despite the newness, she has been progressing quickly!

Currently, Talia and Tiffany are working on this behavior with her in the hopes that one day we can have a deep water program with guests. They began by first working on her run. During this first phase, Panama was quickly guided from the wade to encounter platform by using a target pole. The target pole easily communicates to Panama the exact direction and speed at which we wish her to move. The next phase will be adding the sd, or hand signal. Eventually the end goal will be to give Panama the sd and she tows the guest and takes them on a ride around main pool and back!

Keep an eye out in the Winter Zone to see Panama’s progression!