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Bottlenose dolphin dies at Vallejo marine animal park

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 2B
Last Modified: Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2011 - 8:12 am

Trainers at a Vallejo marine animal park are mourning the death of a sprightly senior dolphin.

Terry, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's oldest bottlenose dolphin, died Saturday at age 51. Cause of death is pending a necropsy.

Her age was comparable to that of a 95-year-old person. Terry had lost the majority of her teeth and couldn't get out of the water much on her air spin.

"Terry had well surpassed the commonly held lifespan of this species both in captivity and in the wild," said Michael Muraco, animal care director, in a news release. "Each day that she lived in recent years was really a milestone and we're thankful so many individuals were able to learn from her and enjoy her lively spirit."

Terry, along with an ark of other animals, came to Vallejo when the park reopened in 1985 after moving from its original location in Redwood City.

Despite being a senior animal, Terry was the most reliable of dolphins during interactions with guests. She was agile, friendly and, right up to her death, adept at her wave, kiss, spit and hug.

She was much loved by trainers.

"She was the epitome of what we imagine an animal her age would be like – she had a gentle, loving nature but yet she was playful and very funny," said Kim Lara, marine mammal manager. "She will be missed by all."

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