Buy Online Freecall 1300-547-737
Shopping cart is empty.
Vale Bucky

Vale Bucky

Posted: 25-Jul-2019

Beloved Coffs Harbour icon, Bucky the dolphin has sadly passed away overnight. 


Bucky was Dolphin Marine Conservation Park’s (DMCP) oldest and much-loved resident. He was rescued from the Nambucca River over 45 years ago as an infant dolphin, extremely sunburnt and dehydrated. Bucky’s mother Sandy was with him but also severely injured, so both were brought back to the park for rehabilitation. Ultimately, neither dolphin was deemed releasable and so made their home at the Park.


In 2008 carers noticed an ulcer in the back of Bucky's mouth. When it did not respond to treatment, biopsies were collected from the abscess, and the DMCP team were devastated when the lesion was diagnosed as cancerous. Bucky underwent surgery which was very successful. The cancer went into remission with no evidence that it had spread outside his mouth.


Five years later Bucky's carers identified new suspicious growths inside his mouth which led to Bucky’s brief television career. He appeared on the TV show "Bondi Vet", and the nodules in his mouth were examined by celebrity vet, Dr Chris Brown. Fortunately, the results of this examination concluded that the growths were not cancerous.


Bucky retired from presentations at DMCP many years ago but had still been participating in some of the education programs for his own enjoyment and enrichment. He has spent his days over recent years happily socialising with his family group, playing with his favourite toys, joining in play and learning sessions with the trainers. Bucky loved to play with basketballs and yoga balls, swim with his long-time pal ‘Calamity’ and interact with his trainers.


Recently Bucky’s cancer returned and invaded his lymphatic system. On 30th March Bucky underwent surgery to remove a cancerous mass, which had formed on his shoulder. To ensure that Bucky was given the greatest possible chance of a positive outcome world leading cetacean anesthetist – Dr James Bailey – was flown across from the USA with nationally renowned surgical oncologist – Dr Maureen Thompson from Brisbane carrying out the operation. The surgery was an enormous success, having been the first time in the world that a dolphin of Bucky’s age had been anesthetised, operated on with such invasive surgery and successfully brought back out of the anesthetic.



Despite Bucky’s brave and phenomenal recovery following this major operation and the many health battles he has had to endure he passed away surrounded by his family during the evening. Bucky was 49 years’ old which is impressive considering most dolphins only live to about 30 years of age in the wild. He was a much loved ambassador for conservation and the father of two of the other dolphins at the park, Zipper and Jet.


“Bucky will be greatly missed by everyone at DMCP and especially his trainers, many of whom have cared for him for over 10 years with one – Greg Pickering – for his entire time at the park since his rescue. Everyone involved enjoyed an extraordinary connection with this amazing animal,” said Managing Director, Terry Goodall.






Go back to read more news or you can go to our home page

Share your experience & win

Write a short story, upload a photo and you could WIN free entry to the park for you and your family.


I seen Bucky on sash on TV just now. What an amazing spirit. I feel blessed to be kissed by a trooper. Xoxo thank you Greg for sharing an amazing dolphin. I work with Fuji and I am glad we have a photo booth for people to keep the memories. Sometimes it is all you have. I love my kiss picture with Bucky. Thank you for your photo. Paige Sinclair CEO..

Katherine Thompson

This was my last visit to The pet Porpoise pool 35 years ago I was 7. we used to go every year when I was little and my grandmother getting kissed by a seal was the highlight of the day. I loved feeding the fairy penguins and my dream is to one day swim with the dolphins. I would love to win passes to marine magic to experience it again with my family. What great memories Katherine, we hope to w..


My mum and I just spend the whole weekend at Pet Porpoise Pool, we travel from Tweed to Coffs just to see Buck and Zip, we love them and can't get enough. Already driven down 3 times this year, and every time it's amazing. And we loved seeing all 5 dolphins in the pool, Bella's a sneaky little thing! We got drenched by her plenty of times hahaha. Great to hear you enjoyed yourselves - Paige S..

Karen Purchase

I went up there nearly 2 yrs now after I turned 50. I had received money for my birthday and decided I wanted to do the “trainer for the day” experience. Was the best thing I have ever done in my life, seeing the behind the scene as well getting up and close to all the animals, my favourite parts were taking Elle for her walk around park twice, involved in show, and of course my experiences wi..

Bianca W

Thank you for our tour of your park. We have attended 3 times within the last 11years and have found this way was an amazing way to get up close with the animals and learn more about them. Our guide had lots of information to share and was very good at engaging with the children in the group. Highly recommend. We attended on the 14/7/20 Thank you for taking the time to share your lat..


My son had a brilliant dolphin swim with Trainer Stacey yesterday morning. Stacey was fun, informative and professional and zippy the dolphin was the perfect student loved loved our morning with these beautiful animals Thank you for your lovely feedback Jo, we will let Stacy & Zippy know!..

Diane Binks

Had a great visit to DMCP on Tuesday 30/6/2020, we had an escorted tour of the park with a very informative guide showing us around the park. This visit was very different to our normal visits but my granddaughter and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit! Thank you to all the wonderful people at the DMCP, you are all amazing! Hi Diane, Thank you for your lovely feedback, this is new to all..

Sharon Page

I took my two youngest grandchildren there in July 2018, they both loved it and still talk about it to this day, so we are planning to return with my oldest grandchild as well. They don't like the drive from Sydney, but they do love it there so it makes it worth the trip. Great place, educational and fun. Thank you Sharon, we look forward to seeing you again..

Sharon Fisher

My husband, daughter and my two grandchildren are driving up from Forster on the 26/06/20 to spend the weekend in Coffs Harbour for a getaway weekend.. My daughter , a single mum has just passed her paramedic course and is now in placement in Tea-gardens. She has been so flat out working 12hr shifts. So the reason to get them away for some quality time . I would love to surprise my grandbabies..

Jason lowe

The park is amazing I want to take my daughter their on November for her birthday she would love it so much Thank you Jason..

Stay Updated

Receive the latest news, promotions and events