Members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team, along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, traveled to Charleston, South Carolina this week to help save several wayward manatees.
The manatees were spotted in the upper reaches of the Cooper River, near a warm water outflow area. Due to plummeting water temperatures in the river, the manatees remained close to the warm water outflow, isolating them from sufficient food sources. KapStone played an integral role in monitoring their activity, reporting key data and providing assistance to the rescue team. Historically, manatees move into warmer waters when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.
The rescue mission took a total of two days. Two adult manatees, a male and a female, were successfully rescued on Thursday, December 8 after hours of searching. The team started again the following day, successfully locating and rescuing two male manatees. All four were deemed healthy and transported back to Florida where they were returned to the wild in Brevard County near Port St. John.
A fifth manatee was spotted in the area but attempts to locate that animal were not successful. The team are still working on rescuing efforts, and have called on the public to report any sightings.