CLEARWATER, Fla. - Officials at Clearwater Marine Aquarium say Winter the dolphin, the star of the 2011 movie "Dolphin Tale," is still critical after it was announced Wednesday that her gastrointestinal infection had not improved.
CMA staff discovered the infection last week after they noticed Winter was not interested in eating. Since then, she has had around-the-clock care monitoring and treatment.
James Powell, the president of CMA, said Winter’s condition is "serious" and that staff is in the water, monitoring her closely.
CMA team member kisses Winter the dolphin
Winter underwent tests earlier this week which revealed her worsened state.
Powell said CMA has reached out to specialists around the country who have been working remotely to help, but some of those specialists were traveling to Clearwater Thursday to provide hands-on support for Winter.
"We care deeply about winter. She’s an absolutely remarkable animal," Powell said. "There’s been that we have not done or will not do to ensure that [Winter gets the best treatment]."
He said there is no official prognosis for Winter at this point. He said the specialists coming to Clearwater would hopefully be able to better understand her condition and the possibility of recovery.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium was open to the public Thursday, but Powell said they were closing on Friday in an effort to create a calm, quiet atmosphere for Winter and the team of specialists treating her.
Powell said Winter has had similar gastrointestinal problems before but was able to recover. It’s not clear why this time is different.
CMA trainers monitoring Winter inside her pool
Powell added that CMA staff has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from Winter’s fans.
"She has an extended family of millions," Powell said.
He assured the public that Winter is getting the "best of the best" treatment and they are hopeful she will be able to recover.
Winter came to the aquarium in 2005 after she was found entangled in a crab trap, which resulted in the loss of her tailfin.
In 2007, she was fitted with a prosthetic tail which has become a source of comfort and inspiration to people who also have prosthetic limbs.
After the movie about her journey, "Dolphin Tale," became a huge success, people from around the world began visiting Clearwater Marine Aquarium to meet the film’s hero.
Many advancements in prosthetics have been made thanks to the attention on Winter’s story. And Powell said CMA has been able to help countless marine animals thanks to the support from Winter’s fans.
"This place wouldn't be here if it weren't for winter," Powell said.