Minn. dolphins headed to new zoo homes

Sept. 4, 2012 at 1:40 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Zoo's last two dolphins will be moved to different cities soon as the zoo shuts down its dolphin exhibit after 34 years, zoo officials say.

The dolphins, Semo, 48, who has been at the zoo since 1991, and Allie, in her mid-20s and a zoo resident since 2008, have learned a range of tricks that have pleased zoo patrons for years, but haven't been the best of pals, say zookeepers, who believe they will benefit from different social settings.

"I am thrilled to see them go into a better situation," Diane Fusco, marine mammal supervisor, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Selfishly, I hate to see them go. It's kind of an emotional roller coaster."

The duo performed their last show Friday, though visitors will still be able to see the pair through Sunday. The dolphins are being introduced to special harnesses that will be used to transport them to yet-to-be-determined zoos.

Minnesota Zoo dolphin trainers will travel with the marine mammals and stay at their new homes for about a week to help them get acclimated.

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