This past weekend, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team was asked by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to travel approximately 500 miles to Magnolia Springs, Alabama, to rescue an injured, cold-stressed manatee from the Magnolia River. The adult male manatee was successfully rescued late Saturday afternoon by the SeaWorld team, alongside the Alabama Department of Natural resources, Dolphin Island Sea Lab and the USFWS.
The 9-foot-long, 785-pound manatee was transported to SeaWorld Orlando for further rehabilitation and care. Immediately upon arrival, the manatee underwent a full health examination and was given fluids and antibiotics to treat possible infection.
Over the next several weeks, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue team will closely monitor the manatee’s progress. This is the second time, within the last three weeks, that the Animal Rescue Team has traveled outside of Florida to assist with rescuing a cold-stressed manatee. The team is currently providing around-the-clock care for seven cold-stressed manatees. This is the first manatee rescued of 2015.
In collaboration with the government and other members of 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 ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 24,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than five 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.