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Dolphin dying of broken heart after trainer dies
      #136381 - 02/20/07 12:50 PM

A HEARTBROKEN dolphin is slowly starving itself to death - after the keeper who nursed it back to health was murdered.

Tamara Monti, 37, was stabbed during a frenzied attack by a neighbour a fortnight ago.

Now Mary G, an injured dolphin which Tamara became a "substitute mother" to after it was rescued, appears to have lost the will to live and has stopped feeding.

The extraordinary story emerged yesterday as keepers at the Oltremare water park in Riccione, Italy, appealed for help to save the creature's life.

Tamara was killed at her flat, also in Riccione, by Alessandro Doto, 35, who lived next door with his parents.

He told police he had been driven mad by the incessant barking of Tamara's two dogs, which she left in her flat while working at the dolphinarium.

Yesterday, keepers at the water park said that they had lost not only "a marvellous trainer" but were in danger of losing the dolphin she reared and nurtured after it was found two years ago in the harbour at Ancona in the Adriatic Sea.

Tamara's fiance, Robert Gojceta, has taken over the dolphin's care but Mary G is refusing her daily diet of milk and squid and has lost 110lb since the murder. Treatment for a gastric infection has also failed.

Leandro Stanzani, director of the water park, said Tamara was like a substitute mum to Mary G.

He added: "The relationship between a dolphin and trainer is always special but this time it was especially close. Tamara was constantly stroking Mary, who would nuzzle her cheek."

In a bid to save the dolphin from starving to death, keepers introduced an older dolphin into her aquarium, in the hope they'd strike up a friendship and it would encourage her to eat. But so far, it does not appear to be working.

Police said Tamara, who was stabbed at least 20 times in the throat and face, had been planning to move house because of "repeated altercations" with her neighbours over her dogs.

Doto, who confessed to the killing, was found still standing over the body "as if in a trance", with the bloodstained knife in his hand.

The murder was one of a series of killings arising from "neighbour rage" in Italy last year. Italian police said 850,000 cases a year involving arguments between neighbours end up in court.


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