On September 30, 2014, following months of rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando, SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team returned a male manatee to the waters of St. Augustine. The manatee, named Skellington, was rescued on April 23, 2014, by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), who found him beached on a sand bar acting lethargic and with a wound on its back. He was transported to SeaWorld Orlando for care and rehabilitation.
Skellington's treatments included routine tube feedings, antibiotics, blood work and radiographs to monitor his progress. Upon arrival, he weighed 735 pounds and was over 8-feet-long. He now weighs a healthy 860 pounds, an increase of more than 100 pounds.
So far in 2014, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued eight and returned nine manatees back to their natural environment. In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the waters. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 23,000 animals in need - ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned - for more than four decades.
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.manateerescue.org.
The endangered 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.
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the FWC hotline at 1(888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.
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