Dolphin's Enhanced Silicone Rubber Replacement Tail Fin

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Uploaded on March 05, 2008 by karmavisiontv

FUJI, a dolphin that lost 75 per cent of her tail due to a mysterious disease, is jumping once again with the help of what is believed to be the world's first artificial fin. The 34-year-old dolphin, held at Japan's largest aquarium on the southern island of Okinawa, wears the rubber fin for about 20 minutes a day, allowing her to jump and swim at the same speed as other dolphins. Fuji was stricken by a mysterious disease causing necrosis - the death of cells - in 2002. Vets had to amputate most of her tail. After the surgery, a vet at the aquarium asked his friend at Bridgestone, Japan's largest tyre-maker, for help. A spokesman for Bridgestone said the most difficult technical challenge was creating rubber with a surface texture smooth enough to avoid scratching the dolphin's skin. The company began working on the fin in 2003, but several samples were either too heavy or loose for the dolphin, which is 2.7m long and weighs 227kg. Researchers used divers and underwater cameras to monitor and record Fuji swimming, continually re-engineering and improving the fin throughout 2004. It was only in August, after Bridgestone created the lightest fin, that Fuji finally jumped.

Tags:
Fuji, Animals, Dolphins, Tails, Rubber Silicone, Enhanced Replace, Bridgestone, Surgery, Pets & Animals
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