For Winter the dolphin, the tale of her missing tail ended well--with a latex prosthesis.
In 2005 the then three-month-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin
had gotten entangled in a crab-trap line near Florida
's Cape Canaveral. She later lost her tail and two vertebrae while recovering at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
Two years later Kevin Carroll, vice president of prosthetics at Hanger Orthopedic Group, volunteered to replace Winter's fluke—the dolphin body's powerhouse—with a unique prosthesis that attaches to her body with a gel sleeve (above, Carroll holds his invention in Tampa, Florida, on July 27, 2007).
"My heart went out to her, and I was thinking I could probably put a tail on her," Carroll told USA Today.
With the aid of her trainers, Winter has been learning how to use her prosthetic tail to move around the aquarium, where she will remain. The hardy mammal is also the subject of the new documentary Winter, the Dolphin That Could.
Photograph by Chris O&Meara, AP