Cuban authorities said on Friday that the six male #Dolphins, resident in the “Cable Esqui” aquarium on Cayo Guillermo, a small island off #Cuba's coast, has been moved to safety in preparation for the expected onslaught from #Hurricane Irma. U.S. service members, their families, and detainees will shelter in place at Guantanamo Bay.

The Independent quotes the Cuban news agency CAN as saying the six dolphins were wrapped in moist towels and placed on foam mattresses for Thursday’s helicopter ride to Cienfuegos, a southwestern province of Cuba, which is not likely to be affected by the storm. The dolphins were accompanied in their evacuation by a veterinarian and their trainers.

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Vets and trainers attempt to calm the dolphins for the move

The Independent reports that video footage taken of the move showed the veterinarians and trainers attempting to soothe the dolphins while wrapping them in the towels. Trainers were seen to rub their heads and bodies in an effort to calm the dolphins prior to their stressful move from Cayo Guillermo, which is expected to be badly affected by the storm.

Aquarium head Gonzalo Carrero Escobar said that currently the dolphins have been placed in a pool offering similar living conditions to their natural home. However he added that if Hurricane Irma should affect that area, the sea mammals will move to a salt water pool at a local hotel.

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Guantanamo Bay will not see evacuation

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, the naval base at Guantanamo Bay will not be evacuated. Some 5,000 people, including detainees and U.S. service members, along with their families, will be sheltered in place. Speaking on behalf of the prison, Navy Commander John Robinson said they have initiated severe weather plans to ensure the safety of service people and detainees during the tropical storm.

Guantanamo Bay currently holds 41 prisoners, detained on suspicion of terrorism, which include those believed to be the ringleaders involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Hurricane Irma downgraded to Category 4 but still strong

In the meantime, Hurricane Irma has been downgraded to a Category 4 hurricane, but is still a powerful storm and has been officially confirmed to be the largest ever storm to pass over the Atlantic Ocean.

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The hurricane has already arrived on Cuba’s northern coasts and is affecting the popular white sand tourist area. The Civil Defense in Cuba has placed the Cienfuegos, Matanzas, Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara provinces on alert and has upgraded its warning to western areas of Cuba, including Havana, Mayabeque, and Artemisia.

Florida evacuates in lead up to Hurricane Irma

According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Hurricane Irma is expected to turn north after hitting Cuba, heading straight for southern Florida, where residents have been involved in a mass evacuation from the potentially threatened area. Florida Governor Rick Scott had sent out a strong warning to Florida residents, telling them to get out of the evacuation zones and stating they were “running out of time.”

Scott reportedly told the media that Irma is a catastrophic storm like nothing the state has ever seen before and effects of the storm would affect Florida from coast to coast. The Mail Online quotes Miami as being a “ghost town” after both residents and tourists have fled the city.