Aged dolphin with artificial tail fin dies at Okinawa aquarium

Aged dolphin with artificial tail fin dies at Okinawa aquarium

Fuji, the bottlenose dolphin, swims energetically with an artificial tail fin (Photograph provided by the Ocean Expo Park).

November 3, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On November 2, the Ocean Expo Park Management Center announced that Fuji, the female bottlenose dolphin which was fitted with an artificial tail fin, died November 1 of infectious hepatitis.

Fuji was estimated to be around 45 years old. She was the second longest-living dolphin in Japan.

According to the center, the dolphin started losing her appetite, and swimming and breathing unsteadily from the beginning of October.

Fuji was brought to the Ocean Expo Park from Ito City in Shizuoka Prefecture in 1976.

In 2002, 75 percent 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, which made her regain strength.

Her story of recovering from the disease and swimming energetically with an artificial tail fin moved people nationwide, and was made into a movie in 2007.

Yoshiaki Kamei of the center, who raised Fuji when she was brought into the aquarium, said, “We are really regretful that Fuji died. However, she has left us with many things. We would like to tell people what Fuji left for us.” The center plans to hold a panel exhibition on how the aquarium raised her.

(English translation by T&CT)

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