A dolphin swims with a new artificial tail fin
June 4, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Bottlenose dolphin “Fuji” ,from the Ocean Expo Park in Motobu Town, has a new artificial tail fin. The dolphin swam with the new fin after a final fitting test was carried out on May 31.
The designers improved a “cowling” feature, which stabilizes the rubber-made artificial fin onto the dolphin’s tail fin.
The new fin does not have screws that need tightening, so it is more comfortable for the dolphin and more durable.
Fuji swam around in the pool with her daughter Connie, as if showing off her new comfortable fin to developers.
The dolphin joined the Ocean Expo Park since 1978. In 2002, part of her tail fin had to be cut off because of an unknown disease. Later, the Churaumi Aquarium and auto manufacturer Bridgestone Group worked together to develop an artificial tail fin. Bridgestone has so far developed 38 fins of eight different kinds.
Shingo Kato of the Bridgestone Flowtech said, “We can now use the outcome of long-term design research for Fuji for other dolphins.” A member of the breeding staff, Suguru Higa said, “Visitors can enjoy seeing the aged dolphin swimming energetically with the artificial fin.”
(English translation by T&CT and Megumi Chibana)
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