Today, the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team, as well as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Sea to Shore Alliance donned life vests and jumped aboard SeaWorld’s own rescue boat to return two rehabilitated manatees to the waterways near Merritt Island, Florida. The two manatees, Clay and Stokes were rescued by SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team last December during harsh weather conditions causing them to be cold-stressed.
Stokes (now a 600-pound manatee,) was rescued from the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, Florida on December 5, 2015, while Clay (currently weighing a total of 805 pounds) was rescued 300 miles from SeaWorld in Savannah, Ga. on the Savannah River December 15, 2015.
Once in SeaWorld’s care, both manatees received a full heath examination, fluids for dehydration and were provided with antibiotics to treat possible infection. With the 24-hour care these manatees received and warmer weather on the horizon, these manatees were deemed ready for return.
This year alone, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 24 manatees and returned 22 manatees back to their natural environments. In collaboration with government agencies and 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.
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