Over the past two chilly days in Central Florida, four rehabilitated manatees were returned back to Florida water ways by the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team and the American Humane Association (AHA)Red Star Rescue team.
These manatees were brought in after being rescued for various reasons and were rehabilitated for years at SeaWorld Orlando.
- Carmine and Leonard, two male manatees, were rescued as orphaned calves in 2013.
- Sheldon and Bernadette were both rescued from Mill Cove, just outside of Jacksonville, due to cold stress in December of 2014.
The manatees were returned near the warm water outfall of Port St. John power plant in Brevard County to provide them with a warm water site during the current cold snap. There, the animals can link up with experienced manatees also seeking refuge from chilly waters.
For this return, the SeaWorld Rescue Team invited several employees and volunteers from the Red Star Rescue Team to be a part of the manatees’ homecoming.
“It was a good opportunity for us to see another rescue organization and how they operate, the challenges they overcome and how they are able to really help animals that are different from the animals that we are normally accustomed to dealing with,” said Randal A. Collins, National Director of the AHA’s Red Star Rescue program.
The team, which consists of a national network of trained staff and volunteers, is instrumental in assisting animals and communities in crisis when natural and man-made disasters occur.
SeaWorld Orlando continues to work closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to determine when a manatee is ready to be returned as well as the proper time and location for the return to take place.
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 www.wildtracks.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.
For further information about SeaWorld’s conservation work, visit www.seaworldcares.com.