Clearwater Marine Aquarium is underway with an exciting new project! Clearwater Marine Aquarium is a non-profit working marine hospital. As a non-profit organization, we believe in preserving our marine life and environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation, and release.

On December 10th, 2005, the heroic rescue of a two-month-old abandoned dolphin calf, found entangled in the rope of a crab trap, is just the beginning of an amazing story. Despite losing her tail and two vertebrae as a result of her injures, the calf that will become known as “Winter” begins a journey of survival. In 2010, Winter starred in the major motion picture “Dolphin Tale” telling the story of her rescue and rehabilitation.

Now, we are coming out with a new project! CEO, David Yates and staff at CMA have been working diligently on a new, 90 minute, feature length, documentary of Winter’s real life story. This documentary will contain footage most have not seen. It will cover the relationship that she has had with Panama over the years and show the world the impact she has had on children and adults from around the world. It will also introduce Hope, another female bottlenose dolphin that was rescued by Clearwater Aquarium to the world and tell her story as well.

We are a non-profit organization, so we have been seeking funding to help us share Winter and Hope’s story with the world. So we started a donation campaign with Kickstarter. Through Kickstarter we hope to finance our costs of post-production, including the costs of the music licenses, editing, sound editing and mix-down fees, color correction and title editing, and all aspects of finishing. Our goal is to reach $60,000 by July 4th. This is an all or nothing campaign, meaning if we do not meet our goal by July 4th, then we get nothing! So please, come and check out our page, learn about CMA and Winter, and become part of Winter’s story by pledging today! Every dollar counts!

Visit our Kickstarter page to get an exclusive sneak peek and become part of Winter’s story yourself!

Go to and search: Winter Dolphin.

Or follow this link!–


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Come visit Rufus, one of the stars of the box office hit Dolphin Tale, at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.  During this brief encounter, you will get the opportunity to feed fish to one of the two pelicans who collectively played the role of Rufus while we take your photo during this once in a lifetime opportunity!

Price = $30/person

*Prices are subject to change until reservations are confirmed with full payment. All prices are subject to change without notice until paid in full. Seasonal rates, restrictions, and blackout dates may apply.

Amount of Opportunities = 5 people

Time of Day = 12:00 noon

Guests will receive 2 to 3 fish to feed to one of the two pelicans during the 12:00 presentation.  Guests will be asked to stand on the top deck alongside their trainer.  They will be asked to feed one of the two pelicans when they hear the whistle.  A photo will be taken of each guest and given as a part of this experience.

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“Dolphins, other marine mammals weakened by pollution, scientists say.”

Christine Dell’Amore

National Geographic News

Published April 12, 2013

Part of our weekly “In Focus” series—stepping back, looking closer.

The dead sea otters arrived at Melissa Miller’s Santa Cruz, California, lab with bright-yellow eyes and gums, their livers destroyed.

“One by one, Miller, a marine-wildlife veterinarian, eliminated the potential causes of death until “the last thing I was left with seemed so implausible that I thought I was going crazy.”

The otters had been poisoned by a “nasty toxin” called microcystin, which is produced by cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. Such toxins can appear when human sewage and fertilizers run into lakes and rivers, adding nutrients that spur the growth of algae “superblooms,” Miller said.

But sea otters stick to the ocean, never entering the polluted lakes and rivers where these blooms occur.

“I said, OK, we have to figure out how the otters are getting into this,” said Miller, of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of California, Davis.

Miller’s sleuthing led her to California’s Pinto Lake (map), a water body about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the ocean and so prone to superblooms that Miller said “it’ll blow your mind—it looks like fluorescent green paint.”

Sure enough, she found that Pinto Lake eventually drains into the Pacific Ocean—close to where the dead otters were found in 2007.

Later experiments revealed the algae’s toxins can live for long periods of time in shellfish—otters’ main diet. Toxins from the polluted lake were traveling downstream into the ocean, Miller concluded, where they were getting into shellfish and killing otters. (See pictures of threatened marine species.)

Of course, the toll that some types of water pollution take on marine mammals has long been documented. For example, cancer-causing chemicals called PCBs and pesticides like DDT are known to accumulate in marine mammals’ fatty tissues and cause serious harm.

But scientists are just now beginning to understand how these and other toxins in the water are spurring the resurgence of some diseases and the creation of others, largely by weakening animals’ immune systems. And with more development and pollution in coastal areas, the problem appears to be accelerating.”


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Lucy has been making leaps and bounds in her training. She has been doing excellent in the progression of crating voluntarily. Currently she will enter and exit her crate on verbal and visual cues. We now can place the crate anywhere within her environment and she will voluntarily go into it immediately. This is excellent because when we have to transport her to different locations we can now do it voluntarily. This means less stress on Lucy and less stress on the training team!

Speaking of transporting to different locations Lucy is now participating in a birthday party meet and greet program! This program is great for our guests because we are able to connect with them on a whole new level! Not only do guests learn about pelicans and conservation, they also receive the unique opportunity to experience a private training session. Thus creating unforgettable memories! Lucy participating in such programs is a true testament of the strong relationship the training staff has built with her.

Relationships are key when training with any type of animal. Currently both Ricky and Lucy are very relaxed and comfortable being around the training staff! We have been progressing towards tactile desense with both birds. This would allow us to be able to touch and approach the birds with out them avoiding us. Currently Lucy will allow us to touch her bill, feet, and rub her chest! We are very excited with how quickly she is progressing and look forward to the future!