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Theme park’s oldest dolphin dies at age 51

VALLEJO, Calif., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- One of the oldest dolphins in captivity in North America has died at the age of 51 at a California theme park, officials said.

Marine mammal and veterinary staff at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo were with Terry, the female dolphin, when she died Saturday night, the Vallejo Times-Herald reported.

She was about 95 in human years and the oldest animal at the park, officials said.

Park staff were in mourning, spokeswoman Nancy Chan said.

"This is hitting the staff extremely hard," she said.

"She had been slowing down noticeably of late, and at her age, it was not unexpected, but it's still always a surprise" (when a park animal dies), she said.

While the average dolphin lives up to 25 years, there are rare individuals like Terry that live far longer, experts said.

"Terry had well surpassed the commonly held life span of this species both in captivity and in the wild," Six Flags Animal Care Director Michael Muraco said. "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."

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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