The SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue team returned a mother-and-calf manatee pair to Kars Park in Merritt Island. The pair was rescued on Mother’s Day in the US after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) spotted the distressed adult manatee experiencing buoyancy issues.
The mother manatee was injured by a water craft strike and was treated at SeaWorld Orlando for buoyancy issues due to a collapsed lung. The condition, known as a pneumothorax, was likely caused by the blunt force from the boat strike. For a manatee, not being able to float evenly in the water is a serious issue, causing problems with feeding, swimming and coming up to the surface for air. To treat the collapsed lung, the SeaWorld Orlando Veterinarian team fitted her with a “manatee wetsuit” designed by the park for similar rescue cases. The wetsuit not only helps assist the manatee with floating, but also helps prevent pockets of air and fluid from returning.
The calf, estimated to be 2 years old, was unharmed by the water craft but was still nursing and dependent on his mother. It was important that the pair remained together throughout the rehabilitation as the calf continued to grow and learn from his mother.