Winter the Dolphin’s ashes released into the Gulf of Mexico

A ceremony at sea Thursday returned Winter the Dolphin, star of the Dolphin Tale movies, to the ocean.

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In a news release, Clearwater Marine Aquarium shared details of the ceremony, saying Winter was encased in a Himalayan sea salt urn, there was a C-130 flyover by the U.S. Coast Guard, and flower petals of roses and orchids were released into the gulf along with Winter’s ashes. The team also blew bubbles, “honoring one of Winter’s favorite enrichment activities.”

Winter died in November from twisted intestines, we reported at the time. She was 16 years old when she passed away.

The Vice President of Zoological Care for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Kelly Martin, said “Being able to return Winter to her natural home was the best feeling in the world. Our goal at Clearwater Marine Aquarium is always to rehabilitate rescued marine life so they can return to the wild. In Winter’s case, as is the case with all non-releasable animals, she unfortunately could not complete her return to the wild in life. But today, we were able to give her that final step — a return home,” WTSP reported.

Winter was rescued in 2005, found by a fisherman wrapped in a crab trap, and lost her tail as a result. Her recovery and process to get fitted with a prosthetic tail was chronicled in “Dolphin Tale” and she appeared again in “Dolphin Tale 2,” which focused on another rescued dolphin, as we previously reported.

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