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SeaWorld Orlando is preparing to open a new medical facility for stranded dolphins, two decades after the marine park stopped taking in wild dolphins that washed ashore because of fears that viruses could spread to its captive-animal populations.

 

In the southeastern corner of the park, far out of sight of the more than 5 million people who visit SeaWorld every year, crews are putting the finishing touches on the complex — a kind of quarantined dolphin hospital, with its own water-filtration and sewage systems, food-preparation areas and employee showers.

 

The facility's 40,000-gallon pool is large enough to hold cetaceans as large as a 13-foot pilot whale or as many as five bottlenose dolphins at once. It has been built on the piece of land that once held stables for Clydesdale horses that belonged to Anheuser-Busch Cos., SeaWorld's former owner.

 

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