Rehabilitated Mother & Calf Manatees Returned to Florida Waters
Earlier this morning, a rehabilitated mother manatee and her dependent calf rescued from Ormond Beach, Fla. this past May were returned back to the Halifax River by the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team after a nearly two month rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando.
The manatee pair was returned near Tomoka State Park in Volusia County. The animals were originally rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and quickly transported to SeaWorld Orlando on May 9, 2016.
Upon examination, it was determined that the 1255lbs 10-foot-2-inch-long manatee mother was suffering from a pneumothorax (air trapped inside body cavity) which caused severe buoyancy issues, which could negatively impact her health, eating patterns and the nursing of her calf.
SeaWorld’s expert veterinary team outfitted her with a “manatee wetsuit” the park designed for such rescue cases. The wetsuit helps assist the manatee with floating and allows the team draw out trapped air and fluids. The healthy adult manatee now weighs in at 1270 Pounds.
The mother’s young calf came in weighing approximately 97 pounds, measuring 4 feet and 5 inches, and still nursing from its mother. Although he was unharmed by the water craft, he is still nursing and dependent on his mother making it critical that the pair remain together as the calf continues to grow and learn from its mother. The calf has not left its mother’s side throughout the rehabilitation process.
SeaWorld Orlando works closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to determine when a manatee is ready to be returned as well as the proper time and location for the return to take place.
Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership
As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.
The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at www.wildtracks.org. The Florida manatee is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.
All manatee rescue footage is produced by SeaWorld under the FWS Permit Number MA7701911.