Lesley the Manatee Returns HomeFebruary 6, 2021
Another rescue story found its happy ending at Blue Springs State Park. Rescued in March 2018, adult female manatee “Lesley” made her triumphant return to the water recently after successful rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando.
Lesley was rescued in March 2018 following a boat strike. She was found swimming with a large calf (“Leena”), who was brought to SeaWorld with Lesley since she may have still been dependent on her for milk. It was determined that Leena, who weighed over 500 pounds when she came to SeaWorld, had wintered in the natural environment, so she was successfully released in November 2018.
Meanwhile, Lesley’s body had done a great job of healing over the open wound from the boat strike. However, it also set up the right environment for a massive infection to take hold, reaching down to her ribs and impacting the bones. The team of veterinary experts began treatment, which involved multiple major surgeries and countless smaller surgical procedures, as well as regular wound flushes and rounds of antibiotics.
Throughout the process, Lesley rarely went a day without eating. This was an important indicator that she was comfortable and responding well to her treatments. After being cleared by the SeaWorld veterinary team, Lesley was successfully returned on Jan. 20 to the Blue Springs area, where she had been a known regular visitor for years.
It is not often that we have manatees in our care for as long as Lesley was. Her return is a huge success, not just for her, but also for all of us at SeaWorld. It is a true testament to all the staff members who helped with her care and rehabilitation.