project 365

199. Marine.

A story on captive marine mammals that has been two months — TWO MONTHS — in the making published today, and I’m actually really proud of it. A snippet:

Ghosts of the National Aquarium’s dolphin show live on two years after its shutdown. The amphitheater — now called the Dolphin Discovery exhibit — still has seats marked “splash zone,” posters of performing dolphins and large video screens that were used to rev up the crowd for the entrance of the performing animals.

Aquarium visitors often ask staffers when the next show will start. The answer: never.

The eight bottlenose dolphins that entertained several times a day now enjoy a life of leisure, interacting with their handlers in what used to be the center ring of a marine circus. The animals — Nani, Jade, Spirit, Maya, Bayley, Chesapeake, Beau and Foster — swim around their tank, eat fresh fish and participate in “enrichment programs.”

And a more dramatic change for the dolphins may be in the offing.

I’ve been thinking about dissecting the “anatomy” of this story, just to see how different pieces of reporting are woven together to create the whole. But that’s a lesson for another day.

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