Remote Learning Unit About 2 Rescued Dolphins for Grades 1-3
In this remote school learning unit on Dolphins, we will learn about two very special rescued bottlenose dolphins named Hope and Winter. They were rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. There are multiple free videos on both dolphins, an optional movie, a free printable worksheet and a free downloadable coloring page to accompany the virtual dolphin unit. We hope you love learning about dolphins and marine rescue as much as we do! If you post your printable coloring page on social media, please tag us so we can share it with our community!
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Free Dolphin Worksheet Download
It’s free to download and print this worksheet. Complete it as you watch the videos and read the text.
Hope is a bottlenose dolphin calf found in a Lagoon on the East Coast of Florida by a local fisherman. He observed her in the shallow waters, attempting to nurse from her deceased mother. She was immediately transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for rehabilitation.
At the time of her rescue, Hope was estimated to be 2-3 months old. She weighed 58 pounds and was extremely dehydrated.
You can see original footage of her arrival at the Aquarium here:
Winter is a bottlenosed dolphin calf who was found stranded in a Lagoon near Cape Canaveral, Florida. She was entangled in a crab trap line which cut off circulation to her tail flukes.
She was only 2 months old when she was found.
Once rescuers were able to remove the tangled line, she was immediately transported to Clearwater Marine Aquarium for treatment of extensive injuries. Despite exhaustive efforts to help heal her tail, her tail needed to be removed. She was, however, one of the very few lucky ones – unfortunatley most dolphins trapped in fishing lines do not survive at all.
You can see original footage of her rescue, wound care and rehab here:
Winter’s Prosthetic Tail Flukes
Winter is missing her entire tail fluke and joint. Tail flukes are what propel a dolphin in water. The prosthetic flukes attach to her peduncle, the muscular part of the dolphin. This enables her to swim more naturally. As she moves the peduncle up and down and the prosthetic tail flukes help to propel her.
In the video below you can see how the prosthetic tail flukes are attached and check out her using them!
6 Facts About Bottlenose Dolphins
1) Bottlenose dolphins are marine mammals. They are warm blooded.
2) Bottlenose dolphins have a short thick beak (which you can guess from their name!) and a curved mouth, and they always look like they are smiling. They are usually grey.
3) Bottlenose dolphins travel in small groups of 10-15 dolphins which are called pods. Pods of dolphins play, hunt and work together to raise young dolphin calves and teach them survival skills.
4) Bottlenose dolphins have a dorsal fin on their back, powerful tail flukes and pointed flippers.
5) Bottlenose dolphins must come up to the surface to breath air. They breathe through their “blowhole“, a small hole on the top of the head that opens for air above surface and closes under water. They can hold their breath underwater for around seven minutes.
6) Bottlenose Dolphins eat mostly fish, but will also eat squid and crustaceans such as shrimp.
Return to the Wild or Captivity?
In general, it is the goal of rescuers to return animals found in the wild back to their natural habitat. There are a number of determining factors which will help rescuers determine whether an animal can be safely returned. This includes health, an animal’s instinct to fear it’s natural predators (including humans), ability to hunt and find food, and much more.
Normally, a baby dolphin (or a calf) will remain with their mother for between one and three years. During this time they learn essential survival skills.
Hope was very young at the time of her rescue and she had not yet learned the survival skills required to live in the wild. As such, she cannot be released into the wild. Without a tail, Winter is also not a candidate for return to the the wild.
Fun Facts about Hope and Winter
Do you think Hope and Winter may have been meant to be? Check these similarities out! Both Hope and Winter were:
- were found in very close to the spot in the same lagoon
- both approximately 2 months old at the time of rescue
- they were found exactly five years and one day apart
Dolphin Tale [optional rental movie]
Their story is so amazing it inspired a movie! Here is the trailer to the movie which can be watched for free:
The movie is based on the story of Winter, but it’s not exact. Nonetheless it’s a GREAT MOVIE! You can watch the full length movie on Amazon. It’s also available on other platforms if you don’t use Amazon. The rental fee is generally around $4.
Q&A with Marine Biologists at the Aquarium
There are multiple live webcams of Hope and Winter, check them out and see if you can catch then in real time!
|dorsal fin||back fin|
|pod||group of dolphins|
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Free Dolphin Printables
Want to learn even more about Hope, Winter and all the rescue marine life at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium? Visit their website!