Sam the dolphin star of the Zoomarine family passed peacefully away last Sunday. Sam had been with Zoomarine since it first opened in 1991 and with Peter R Lavia, the administrative chairman for 42 years. At 50 years of age Sam was the oldest male bottlenose dolphin in captivity.
He was looked upon as part of the family and will be sadly missed by staff. During his 50 years of life including the 42 years he spent with Pedro Lavia and during the 20 years in Zoomarine, Sam won the hearts of all those who he spent time with. Along the way he both entertained and educated millions of people.
Miguel Silveira, a marine biologist and zoo curator, said: "Sam will always be remembered for us all in a very special way. He leaves us with a lot of nostalgia and an important legacy. "
Marcia Pereira, who was with Sam in the last 18 years (the last of which as head coach), explains "The memories and the moments spent with our Big Boy will never be forgotten. It will be difficult to cope with him not being there. All the dolphinarium staff remember him fondly and especially us, the trainers. His presence and rich history of life will never be forgotten. Sam’s unique look and smile will always be remembered through the legacy he has left us, his children and grandchildren, who share their lives with us. "