Ocean Expo dolphin with prosthetic tail dies
Okinawa Ocean Expo Park officials announced Sunday that Fuji, the female bottlenose dolphin who was fitted with a prosthetic tail after its own tail had to be removed due to an illness. has died. According to park officials Fuji died Nov. 1 of infectious hepatitis. She was estimated to have been about 45 years old making her the second longest living dolphin in captivity in Japan.
Fuji gained notoriety for being the first dolphin in the world with a prosthetic tail. After learning to swim with her new artificial tail she even regained her ability to jump. She was captured in 1976 off Ito City in Shizukoka Prefecture and transported to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.
In 2002 she lost 75% of her tail fin because of an unknown disease, and was subsequently fitted with an artificial tail made by help from Bridgestone Tire Company. A documentary movie was made of her in 2007.
According to Ocean Park officials, Fuji’s appetite started decreasing in the beginning of October, and they noticed a drop in her appetite and unstable swimming patterns.