This past Sunday (May 10, 2015), the SeaWorld Rescue Team responded to rescue a distressed mother manatee – and her still-nursing calf – near Satellite Beach, Fla. and brought the pair to SeaWorld. The mother has a collapsed lung, which creates buoyancy issues, so SeaWorld 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 mother manatee weighs 1,070 pounds, is 9 feet long and is estimated to be 10 years old. It was determined that her injuries were caused by a water craft strike. The calf is estimated to be 2-3 years old and, although he was unharmed by the water craft, he is still nursing and dependent on his mother. It is important that the pair remain together as the calf continues to grow and learn from its mother.
Over the next several weeks, the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue team will closely monitor the manatee’s progress.
So far in 2015, SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team has rescued 27 manatees and returned 27. The goal, as with every rescue, is to return the manatee back to its natural environment once strong enough to survive on its own. 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 25,000 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.
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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