Pictured: The world’s first bionic sea creature: Winter the dolphin gets a prosthetic tail

Two years ago Winter was the dolphin that could not swim.

Instead of powering through the water with a flick of her tail, the bottlenose could barely waggle from side to side.

She had lost her tail in a crab trap at just two months old and was found floating in distress off the coast of Florida.

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dolphin and tail The world’s first bionic sea creature: Winter now swims and splashes around like any normal dolphin

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Rescuers got her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida where staff fought to save her life.

Winter survived but there was a problem … where her tail should have been there was only a stump.

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dolphin Winter lost her own tail in a crab trap

Aquarium director David Yates said: “She had to learn how to swim without a tail, which no dolphin has ever done in captivity.

“We didn’t know if she could do that. But vets feared her waggling might damage her spine.

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the tail The prosthetic tail which moves along with the dolphin’s full spine

Their solution was an artificial tail and Kevin Carroll, who has designed prosthetics for dogs, an ostrich, and even a duck, offered his services.

“I came straight down, saw Winter and felt really sorry for her,” he said. “I said, ‘OK, we’ll fit her little tail. Not a big deal’.

“Little did I know it was going to take a year and a half. He added: “With a person, when we fit a socket we have one long, solid bone. We don’t have to have the socket moving in every direction.

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winter the dolphin Winter had to learn to swim without a tail

With a dolphin, it needs to move along with her full spine. But the months of work were worth it.

When Winter was finally fitted with a 30in silicone and plastic tail she was a dolphin transformed.

She may never be the most elegant dolphin who ever swam but, as she splashes about in the aquarium, it is safe to say that she probably doesn’t care.

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