SeaWorld Pilot Whale Fitted With Special Brace

A female pilot whale with scoliosis — curvature of the spine — has been fitted with a custom-fitted brace. She has been in rehab at SeaWorld Orlando since September after being transferred from the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo. 

SeaWorld officials and an Orlando-based orthopedic spine surgeon, Dr. Philip Meinhardt, hope that the brace will straighten the whale’s spine and tail, allowing it to swim normally. It’s the first time such a device has been used on a large whale. The whale receives daily physical therapy sessions, in which the brace can be adjusted. The cause of her condition is unknown.

A female pilot whale has been fitted with a brace as treatment for scoliosis.

According to Jon Peterson, a senior member of SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team, it’s too soon to know if the brace will work but staff remain committed to doing anything possible to help care for the recuperating animal.

Nicknamed “300,” the whale is one of 23 that beached themselves last May in the lower Florida Keys.

Two were healthy enough to be returned to native waters a few days later. Five whales were transferred to the Marine Mammal Conservancy; unfortunately, three of the five survivors died. Two remaining whales – a young, female pilot whale named “Fredi” and “300” – were transported to SeaWorld Orlando’s Cetacean Rehabilitation Facility where they continue to receive hands-on care.

NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) experts have deemed the animals unreleasable due to their age and need for advanced care.






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