Joker has been observed by the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program more than 173 times since he was born in 2011. He is the third calf of Little Orphan’s Annie, who was the first Sarasota Bay dolphin documented to have a fifth-generation calf — meaning that he was the first dolphin born five generations after we started our dolphin study in Sarasota Bay.
Joker was born while his great-great-grandmother Cathy was also still plying the waters of Sarasota bay.
Joker still has at least one other family member in the Bay — a brother named F256, born in 2007.
Joker’s unusual “smile” is likely the result of entanglement in fishing line.
How did 1253 get his name? Near the end of 2001, when he was just a few months old, we saw the dolphin with line entanglement around his mouth. The injury left him with scars on the left side of his mouth and face and what appears to be a deformed lower jaw. We also think that he could have damage to his left eye.
In June 2015, Joker became the victim of another human interaction when he was struck by a boat propeller. Fortunately, it appears the prop only hit the top of his dorsal fin, which left two cuts that have since healed.