Friday, January 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Luna!

Happy Birthday, Luna!
Join us in celebrating Luna's belated birthday! Yesterday, Luna turned five years old. Born on the night of a full, blue moon, Luna is the daughter of Pandora. An outgoing, bold little girl, Luna is small in stature yet big in personality. She was one of the youngest of our babies to cuddle with trainers in the water, starting at only three months of age! Luna is a quick learner, an avid people watcher, and a free-spirited little sprite you can’t help but adore! 
Luna is so sweet, that she actually gave a member of the Dolphin Research Center staff five separate gifts on her fifth birthday when asked to retrieve a present! What an adorable way to celebrate, and bond, with her human family members. It's surely a memory that will be cherished forever.

If you'd like to adopt Luna or buy her a bucket of fish for her birthday, head on over to the Dolphin Research Center website. As a nonprofit education and research facility, DRC relies on guests, members and donors to be the backbone of the organization and enable us to provide excellent care for our animal family members.

Happy Birthday, Luna! We love you baby girl.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Summer's Arrival!

Summer has arrived! With Dolphin Research Center staff and three marine mammal veterinarians caring for her the entire way, DRC’s newest family member was flown in comfort from her rehabilitation home at Clearwater Marine Aquarium on Tuesday. She did great with her travel and is now comfortably swimming in our medical pool. To ensure a smooth transition, she’ll remain for a while in the med pool, gradually becoming acclimated to the water of Florida Bay. This will also give her the opportunity to get to know her human caregivers who will introduce her to her new dolphin family when she moves into the dolphin lagoons.

Since our founding in 1984, it has been part of DRC’s mission to provide permanent homes for marine mammals in need. Once we received word that this young Atlantic spotted dolphin would join our family, several staff members spent weeks getting to know her up in Clearwater. Additional staff traveled there in recent days to prepare for the smoothest transportation possible. The costs of providing for her acclimation, air transport, and expert 24-hour care that she will receive are considerable. If you would like to help us with those costs, you can do so in the Membership & Donations area of our website. Click here. 

All of us in the DRC family thank the staff and volunteers of Clearwater Marine Aquarium for their dedicated rehabilitation of Summer. Thanks also to pilot Robert Gaynor and the PilotsNPaws organization for flying Summer and the team home to Marathon!

We’ll keep everyone posted on Summer’s progress and hope that you’ll have the opportunity to meet her in the future!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Awesome Ocean Live Q & A with Kirsten Donald

On January 22nd, Dolphin Research Center's Director of Education Kirsten Donald  took part in the Awesome Ocean live Q &A. If you missed it, check it out here:

Let us know what you thought of the podcast in our comment section!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Diva's Meets the Front Lagoon

A little more than a year ago, Aleta gave birth to her beautiful baby girl, Diva. The two of them enjoyed some bonding time before moving in with Merina and her daughter Windley, who is six days younger than Diva. As the young calves grew a bit older they were introduced to Tursi, DRC’s resident super mom, who was more than happy to play nanny. The five of them enjoyed a few months together until both Aleta and the trainers decided it was time for Diva to meet the rest of the family.
Mom and calf spent a few days near the front lagoon communicating with the rest of the clan that lived together. They whistled across the gates and peeked over at one another throughout the day. Then in an early morning session, the gates finally opened and Diva met a rambunctious group of ten!

The first two excited dolphins to meet the young baby were Cayo and Louie who left their dock and enthusiastically swam in to meet Diva. Following them were Luna, Gypsi, and Gambit. Then, Aleta made a big leap by taking her baby through the open gate to where she’d never been before: The front lagoon.

Santini, Aleta’s younger sister, raced over to swim alongside with her two year old son, Reese. The four of them became a unit as her mom, auntie, and cousin showed Diva the ropes. The curious social butterfly kept her mom’s flippers full the entire time. Diva wanted to play with all the youngsters.
Here at DRC, we replicate the way the dolphins live out in the wild. The first home that Diva knew was a maternity group, where moms, calves and nannies live together. As she gets older, she will experience life with other juveniles. When she’s old enough to learn how to take care of calves she’ll no doubt have the chance to try out the role of a nanny or babysitter. 

It was a big day for both the dolphins and human family members here at Dolphin Research Center. You can only imagine how many staff members lined the wall of the front lagoon and watched as Diva swam her way into the front. As we saw mom and baby make their way through the gate, we all cheered and congratulated both Aleta and Diva on this milestone.

*Note: This story is from several months ago, but we wanted to share it with members who were not able to be at the facility for this awesome experience.*

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Happy Anniversary Lina

Happy Anniversary, Lina!

Lina arrived at Dolphin Research Center on January 13, 2011.  She came to us from the Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC) at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro, CA.  As a “repeat strander,” it was determined she was unfit to return to the wild. Lina initially stranded in Ventura County, when she was approximately 1 year-old. She was small and thin and seeking food from people. MMCC rescued, rehabilitated, and released her five times! On her final release, she was found shortly after climbing the stairs of someone’s beach house. At this point National Marine Fisheries Services determined she was non-releasable, and Dolphin Research Center was thrilled to give her a “forever home”.

Lina is full of personality! She is bright and eager to learn, but she always wants to be in charge. She tries to be two steps ahead of her trainers at all times and likes doing things her way! She gets impatient when she doesn’t get something right the first time. Lina gets along well with the rest of DRC’s sea lion family. Though she is the smallest of our sea lions, she acts like she is the largest! It is quite comical to watch Lina boss around sea lions much bigger than herself. 

We are very happy to be Lina's forever family and home. Happy Anniversary, Lina. We love you!

If you'd like to adopt Lina or buy her a bucket of fish for her anniversary, check out our website. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Awesome Ocean Q & A with Dr. Kelly Jaakkola

In case you missed the Q&A last night with DRC's Director of Research Dr. Kelly Jaakkola and Eric and Erin of Awesome Ocean, you can watch it now here:

See you in two weeks when Dolphin Research Center's Director of Education Kirsten Donald is on the podcast.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jax's Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Jax!
Join us in wishing Jax a Happy Anniversary! When he was around 6-8 months old, Jax was spotted swimming alone in the St. John’s River near Jacksonville, FL. Orphaned and injured, he was rescued and transported to Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City. Due to his age, he was deemed nonreleasable by the government and Dolphin Research Center was happy to open our home to this sweet little dolphin. Jax is a daring, fun-loving guy who enjoys people watching, playing with his toys and relaxing with his best friend, Rainbow. He is easily recognized by his half dorsal fin, unique fluke injury, and his “Lucky Fin”. Just like Nemo, Jax has a special flipper. It's been 7 years since joined the DRC family and everyday he shows us that regardless of his injuries, he can do everything the other dolphins can do. What an inspiration! Happy Anniversary, Jax. We love you! 

Want to adopt Jax or buy him a bucket of fish for his anniversary? Then head on over to the Dolphin Research Center website and click on his bio page

As a nonprofit education and research facility, Dolphin Research Center would not be able to be a forever family and home to Jax, or the rest of the pod members, without help from our wonderful guests, members and donors. All the fees from your memberships, general admission, interactive programs, and donations go right back to our family members buckets. Thank you for continuing to support us, our family, and our mission.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy Birthday, Gypsi!

Gypsi turns 8 years old today!

Gypsi celebrates her 8th Birthday today! Gypsi lives up to her heritage as the only Flipper granddaughter. Even in a crowd of superstar dolphins, Gypsi still manages to stand out in the crowd! An accomplished aerialist, she loves athletic challenges and is our best tail-walker, going all the way across the lagoon! Gypsi has a sweet nature and will lie in her trainer’s arms for cuddles and kisses. Intense and intelligent, she is a “thinker” who enjoys new games! Please join us in singing Happy Birthday to the one and only, Gypsi. We love you, Doodlebug!

Want to adopt Gypsi or buy her a bucket of fish? Go to her bio on the Our Animal Family portion of the Dolphin Research Center website.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Soldier Ride

The Hero's Welcome from 2013's Soldier Ride.
On Friday, January 9th, Dolphin Research Center will host the annual Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project, welcoming Soldier Ride when the adaptive cycling event comes through the Florida Keys.  For the sixth year in a row, the cyclists and their support group will stop at DRC where upwards of 60 soldiers will enjoy a Dolphin Encounter dolphin swim free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the Charles Evans Foundation.  The group is expected to arrive between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  The public is invited to join DRC staff and volunteers as they line up to give a hero’s welcome to the participants.  Admission to DRC is free for current members.  Other visitors can pay general admission or become members with their donations when they get to DRC.
These soldiers are coping with life-altering injuries to body, mind and spirit, including amputations, burns, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  To watch them leave their troubles behind on land for a joyful time swimming with dolphins inspires all who see the experience.  For many of the participants, the dolphin swim further empowers them as they courageously battle the physical and psychological damages of war. 
The Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project at Dolphin Research Center is truly a community event.  Before the Dolphin Encounter, they will enjoy a delicious lunch catered by La Trattoria of Key West and desserts baked by DRC volunteers.  Captain Hook’s Dive Shop, Marathon, loans them wetsuits and life vests.  After the swim, the soldiers also receive complimentary photos and a sterling silver replica charm of Jax the dolphin’s tail flukes, designed by Custom Tails jewelry.
Dolphin Research Center is committed to supporting veterans and active duty personnel from all branches of the United States military.  Throughout the year, the organization provides
programs not only for the wounded warriors, but also for caregivers of the injured, family of active duty personnel, and families who have lost a loved one serving in the war.