ORLANDO – The story of a dolphin that was bitten several times by a shark and then was stranded on a Florida beach in poor health has a happy ending.
The dolphin — named Sharkie — was released back into the wild near St. Augustine after spending four months recuperating at SeaWorld Orlando, the company recently announced. The 265-pound Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was rescued in February on Ponte Vedra Beach.
"This is a very exciting day for us," said Jon Peterson, SeaWorld's rescue operations manager. "To see this animal in the state she was in, bitten by sharks, emaciated, in trouble and with life threatening injuries, to as healthy as she is now to swim back out in the ocean, it's just a wonderful day, and that's why we do this."
As part of her treatment, Sharkie received 24/7 care that included medicine and antibiotics, physical therapy and treatment for her wounds on her body and right pectoral flipper. She was also fitted with a satellite tag so animal rescuers can monitor her.
Assisting SeaWorld Orlando with the dolphin's release was the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The company runs theme parks, which helps fund its animal rescue missions. It has cared for more than 31,000 animals over the past five decades, a release said.