Winter is an almost 6-year old sub-adult female bottlenose dolphin who was born around October 2005 off the coast of Florida. One day on December 9th, 2005, Winter found herself entangled in a
Most dolphins who get entangled in fishing traps often die either during the process or shortly after getting trapped. Winter on the other hand, despite the prediction that she would not survive her ordeal, her condition later began to improve. But, this was only the beginning of an amazing story of survival from the dangers that many dolphins face as a result of human activity.
In the Wild, dolphins having no tail can lead to either serious injury or even death. Winter on the other hand, was now in human care but still had to learn how to swim in a very different pattern that is similar to that of fish and snakes. She had now adapted to this swim pattern as well as eating on her own for the first few days of her arrival, she was hand fed by the vets and volunteers who rescued her. They used a tube to feed her. In 2006, CMA announced plans to create a bionic tail for Winter. So for several months, people everywhere collected money for the project. In August 2007, Winter was fitted in her first artificial tail that was created by Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc. Winter would only become the second captive dolphin to ever receive an artificial tail.
Over the course of a number of months, Winter had to learn how to use the correct body position to be fitted for the stretchy plastic sleeve. This is the one that is mainly used for human prosthetics. Her trainers have also created one that is more form-fitted version of this sleeve. The sleeve will probably have to be adjusted as Winter gets older. So far, she has had 16 tails over the course of her lifetime.
The tail fluke acts as a dolphin's power house. The dolphin uses it to swim at the fastest of speeds, and to sometimes defend themselves predators such as sharks and killer whales.