The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team is now caring for two orphaned baby manatees – one of which has been fitted with a custom made wet suit to help it stay afloat.
The newborn and month-old manatee calves were both brought to SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation facility after being rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The first manatee, which was found floating on its side, was rescued and immediately transported to SeaWorld for instant treatment, including fluids and antibiotics. To help the young animal float, the SeaWorld team used a custom-fitted infant life vest with a foam flotation device. This tool has allowed the manatee to remain upright ever since.
The second manatee calf, a male thought to be around a month old, was found thin and alone and was retrieved brought directly to SeaWorld for care. He is 31 kg and 91cm long - that’s nearly the same length as a guitar.
Both manatees are being tube fed a specialised formula every three hours. The SeaWorld team is also working to teach the manatees to suckle so they can receive additional nutrition from a bottle. Around-the-clock care will continue as long as necessary.
So far this year SeaWorld has rescued or helped rehabilitate 29 manatees and the park has returned 27 back to their natural environment. Over the last five decades, SeaWorld has rescued more than 26,000 animals in need, whether they are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned. The goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate the animal back to health and return them to their natural environment as soon as possible.