4 Manatee Return

This week four rehabilitated manatees were returned to their natural waterways by our Animal Rescue Team, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Museum, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Sea to Shore Alliance.

The goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and return the animal as quickly as possible, but young manatee calves take additional time and resources. All four of these manatees were rescued at young ages and required extended rehabilitation and care. Rescued manatee calves must weigh at least 600 pounds before they are considered strong candidates for return by the FWC. As naive manatees, this weight is ensures they are less susceptible to cold stress syndrome and will thrive during their first winter in their natural environment.

Meet the Manatees:

  • Bambam was rescued on January 18, 2015 as a young calf suffering from severe cold stress. Once stable he was flown to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden as part of the MRP where he spent two years gaining weight and preparing for his return.
  • Gale was rescued as a young calf on December 29, 2016, along with her mother, due to cold stress. Unfortunately Gale’s mother succumbed to her injuries shortly after being rescued. Due to her young age, Gale remained in rehabilitation and was transferred to South Florida Museum as part of the MRP where she was able to gain weight and prepare for her return.
  • Cassie was rescued on August 26, 2015 as an orphaned calf in Ormond River. When Cassie arrived at SeaWorld Orlando she weighed 66 pounds and required round-the-clock care including bottle feedings every three hours. She has spent the last six months at the Jacksonville Zoo as part of the MRP.  At the time of her return Cassie was tipping the scales at 890 pounds.
  • Buckeye was rescued as an orphaned calf in Daytona Beach on September 8, 2015. When Buckeye was rescued he weighed 64.5 pounds and was estimated to be only a few weeks old. For the last six months he has been receiving care at the Jacksonville Zoo as part of the MRP. At the time of his return he weighed 688 pounds. 

All manatee rescue footage is produced by SeaWorld under the FWS Permit Number MA770191.