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When the young dolphin was rescued from the Adriatic Sea, distressed and bruised, she was nurtured back to health by a dedicated trainer who took responsibility for her care.

Now the trainer is dead, the victim of a frenzied attack by her neighbour - and the dolphin, apparently, is dying of a broken heart.

The extraordinary story of love emerged yesterday as keepers at the Oltremare water park in Riccione appealed for international help to save the life of their dolphin.

Tamara Monti, 37, was stabbed to death at her flat in Riccione by Alessandro Doto, 35, who lived next door with his elderly parents.

He told police after his arrest that he had been driven mad by the incessant barking of Ms Monti's two dogs - a basset hound and a mongrel - which she left in her flat all day while working at the dolphinarium.

Yesterday keepers at the water park said that they had lost not only "a marvellous trainer" but were also in danger of losing Mary G, the dolphin that Ms Monti had reared and cared for after it was found two years ago in the harbour at Ancona.

The dolphin is refusing her daily diet of milk and squid and has lost 50kg (110lb) since Ms Monti's murder. Her weight has fallen to just 160kg (350lb) and she has failed to respond to medication for a gastric infection. Ms Monti's fiancé, Robert Gojceta, has taken charge of the dolphin's care but has been unable to revive her.

Leandro Stanzani, director of the water park, said that Ms Monti had become Mary G's "substitute mother".

"The relationship between a dolphin and its trainer is always special, but this time it was especially close" he said. "Tamara was constantly stroking Mary, who would nuzzle her cheek." In an attempt to save the young dolphin from starvation, keepers have introduced an older dolphin called Pele into her aquarium, hoping that they will strike up a friendship and encourage her to eat. But their plan does not appear to be working.
The rest of the article is about Tamara Monti's murder: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle1403428.ece
 

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Poor dolphin, that's so sad... not unbelievable though, they are very intelligent creatures and form close bonds.
 
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