SeaWorld Returns Rescued Manatee to Florida Waters

On November 1, SeaWorld Orlando returned a pregnant manatee rescued from Nantucket Sound, Mass., into the waters at River Breeze Park in Oakhill, Fla.
The manatee, known as Washburn, travelded by U.S. Coast Guard plane from Connecticut to her Florida home. Originally rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and then sent to the Mystic Aquarium for initial treatment and stabilization, Washburn arrived at SeaWorld Orlando for full rehabilitation. 

Her return marks the end of her rescue adventure and the beginning of a new chapter in her story.

SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team took care of Washburn and her unborn calf for two weeks. During that time, Washburn received complete physicals to monitor her health, including sonograms to check on her unborn calf. A daily diet of lettuce helped her gain nearly ninety pounds. Today she weighs 890 pounds.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was also on site recording measurements and photo identification, and assisted as Washburn was fitted with a belt that will allow the Sea to Shore Alliance to monitor and track her path in the wild. 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 28,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than 50 years. Washburn is the 21st manatee the park has rescued in 2016 and the 18th to be returned. 

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 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.

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.

PHOTOS: © 2016 SeaWorld Parks & Resorts Orlando. All Rights Reserved.

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