CMA becomes one of two facilities in North America that cares for rough-toothed dolphins.
CLEARWATER, Fla. (August 6, 2020) – Clearwater Marine Aquarium welcomes its newest rescued resident, a rough-toothed dolphin named Rex. Rex joins Rudolph, another rough-toothed dolphin who recently joined CMA, making CMA one of only two facilities in North America that is home to a member of the rough-toothed dolphin (Steno bredanensis) species.
Rex stranded on St. George Island in Franklin County, Florida on April 19, 2019. Estimated to be about 5 – 7 years old, Rex had a fair body condition upon his intake but later tests revealed he had a combination of aspiration and fungal pneumonia. A test performed by National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed Rex has hearing loss associated with echolocation, and because of this challenge, NMFS deemed Rex non-releasable in August 2019. Rex has been in care at Gulf World which was the only facility at that time to house other rough-toothed dolphins.
“Rex makes the perfect partner for Rudolph,” said Kelly Martin, Director of Animal Care. “We’re so excited to have a buddy for Rudy as socialization is critical to their welfare and helps promote optimal social development reduces stress.” Martin continued, “Rudolph and Rex are both very energetic and intelligent animals. I know our guests will enjoy learning their stories and getting to know their personalities.”
Rudolph stranded off Sanibel Island on December 16 and was transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s rehabilitation facility at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs, about 20 miles north of CMA. During his recovery, the team at CMA observed behaviors from Rudolph that indicated possible hearing loss. A hearing test was performed by NMFS which uncovered that Rudolph does not have the hearing range to echolocate, severely limiting his ability to survive in the wild. Due to his hearing loss, NMFS determined he was non-releasable and selected Clearwater Marine Aquarium to be his forever home.
Hemingway and Nicholas’ previous pool at CMA, which was originally built as a place to accept newly rescued animals for immediate care and quarantine from our other resident animals, is now the home to Rex and Rudolph. Rescued dolphins Nicholas and Hemingway were the first residents to move into CMA’s new $80 million project including the Ruth and J.O. Stone Dolphin Complex.
“We are so touched to be selected as the forever home for non-releasable animals like Rex and Rudolph,” said CEO Frank Dame. “Being able to care for these two unique dolphins and further our guests’ understanding of this species is an incredible honor. We have truly enjoyed watching their relationship grow and can’t wait for our visitors to experience it as well.” Dame continued, “I want to thank Gulf World for providing such great care to Rex and for providing Rudolph with a buddy.”
For guests unable to visit in-person, there are several ways to experience CMA virtually through webcams and personalized videos. Visit seewinter.com for tickets and details.
- About Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working marine rescue center dedicated to preserving our marine life and environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation and release. CMA is home to rescue dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. Winter, the dolphin’s story of survival after injury that caused her to lose her tail, has impacted millions of people around the world. A major motion picture, Dolphin Tale, highlighted her life story in 2011. The sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, was released in September 2014 and features the incredible story of Hope, a young resident dolphin of CMA. The mission and potential to change people’s lives differentiates Clearwater Marine Aquarium from any other aquarium in the world
We believe in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life; environmental education; research; and conservation.
A Florida non-profit 501(c)(3) organization