CLEARWATER, Fla The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's oldest dolphin that is widely recognized as the adopted mother of Dolphin Tale movie star Winter has died.
Panama was close to 40 years old when she died Wednesday. The average lifespan of a dolphin in the wild is about 25 years.
Aquarium officials say Panama had gone a few days with poor appetite, sluggish behavior and abnormal blood tests.
The bottlenose dolphin was the first friend and tank mate of Winter, the dolphin with a prosthetic tail.
Panama was deaf when she was found stranded on a Panama City beach in 2000. She was rescued and sent to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in 2001. She and Winter shared a tank until Winter's "sister" named Hope arrived in December 2010.