Copan was named from a city of the same name in his native country of Honduras. During the reign of the ancient Maya civilization, Copan was a powerful city ruling a vast kingdom of the southern empire.
The dolphin Copan was the patriarch, the true king of the dolphin society within the lagoons of the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences from 1989 to 2002, then here at Curacao's Dolphin Academy. He was the alpha, dominant male and the females adored him. Being Copan’s interest of affection meant being the queen of the lagoon. Copan was fearless, adventurous, brave and had some of the most amazing aerial displays seen anywhere in the world. It is easy to see why the lady dolphins found him to be such a desirable companion.
He was one of the first dolphins to participate in the Open Water Program. He was also very famous - having played the role of "Flipper" for the ocean scenes in the 1996 Flipper movie and the 90's TV series Flipper - The New Adventures. He also appeared in numerous other films, documentaries, and commercials. His image is still often featured on books, magazines, and calendars to this day.
Copan was stout and healthy his entire life, having never lost a challenge to a rival male. It was with incredible surprise and sadness that a sudden illness abruptly took his life. He passed away on August 8, 2012. Many of his attributes remain within his multiple offspring, and he lives on through all the beautiful memories Copan created not only for Dolphin Academy but for all the visitors that had the pleasure to meet him.
His pigment white ‘lips’, tiny dark eyes and robust body