One of the most recent additions to the crew of performing dolphins at the Chicago area's Brookfield Zoo, 4-year-old Nea, died Monday following an apparent "freak accident" collision with another dolphin.
Though no one witnessed the incident, the Chicago Tribune reports that Nea sustained a fractured skull just before the Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was to perform during a 1 p.m. show at the zoo. Marine mammal trainers reportedly administered CPR but were unable to save her.
Nea's death has "devastated" zoo staff who worked with her, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"Anybody who had worked with her just instantly fell in love with her," Rita Stacey, zoo curator of marine mammals told the Sun-Times. "She was a very fun-loving, very cooperative animal. She always wanted to work with and play with the trainers."
According to NBC Chicago, the average lifespan for a dolphin ranges between 17 and 25 years. Nea first arrived at the Brookfield Zoo only last year.
Dolphin shows were canceled for the rest of the day Monday, but resumed Tuesday.
Photo by Nimesh M via Flickr.