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Clearwater Marine Aquarium welcomes rescued dolphin Apollo

Apollo was transported for rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando after being discovered on Florida’s Space Coast.

clearwater marine aquarium apollo dolphin

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) has welcomed a rescued dolphin named Apollo who was unable to return to the wild following rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando due to hearing loss.

The aquarium in Florida was selected by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to be the two-year-old male dolphin’s forever home. Named after his place of rescue on Florida’s Space Coast, Apollo was found on the beach.

Apollo will reside in the Ruth & J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex where Winter, a bottlenose dolphin with a prosthetic tail, once lived with resident dolphins Hope, PJ, Nicholas and Hemingway.

Winter, who was rescued in December 2005, died during treatment on November 11. “We are overjoyed to welcome a new family member to CMA,” said Kelly Martin, vice president of zoological care at Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

Forever home for Apollo the dolphin

“Coming off the heels of Winter’s rescue anniversary on December 11 and her death in November, this new dolphin is a burst of new life and energy that our team is so excited to embrace. December truly is our magical month at CMA.”

Apollo was transported for rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando after being discovered on the beach. As part of the standard pre-release protocol, a hearing test was conducted by the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF).

The hearing test confirmed a diagnosis of atypical hearing loss for Apollo’s age that compromised his ability to echolocate, a method used by dolphins to find food in the wild.

“After nearly seven months of intensive treatment and rehabilitation, Apollo’s health improved and we had every hope that he would make a complete recovery and be able to return to his natural environment,” said Jon Peterson, VP of zoological operations at SeaWorld Orlando.

Apollo rehabilitated at SeaWorld Orlando

clearwater marine aquarium apollo dolphin

“Unfortunately a hearing test performed by the NMMF revealed that Apollo has atypical hearing loss compromising his ability to echolocate. Due to his hearing loss, NMFS determined Apollo was not a candidate for release.” 

“It is because of the wonderful team work, respect, and professionalism executed by each organization that took part in Apollo’s rescue that he is able to take advantage of this second chance at life,” said Dr James ‘Buddy’ Powell, executive director at CMA.

Elsewhere, the Marineland theme park in Canada’s Niagara Falls has been charged under the Criminal Code for allegedly using cetaceans for entertainment purposes without authorisation.

Images: Clearwater Marine Aquarium

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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