ORLANDO, Fla. (May 17, 2016) – SeaWorld Orlando’s critical care facility received a 1,255-pound manatee mother and her young calf for acute rehabilitation after being rescued May 9 by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from Tomoka River near Ormond Beach in Volusia County, Fla. In addition, the team also recently received a rescued orphaned manatee from Satellite Beach, Fla.
Mother and calf pair
After careful monitoring by the FWC, it was determined that the 10-foot-2-inch-long manatee mother was experiencing severe buoyancy issues, which could negatively impact her health, eating patterns and the nursing of her calf.
Due to the impact scar on the adult manatee’s back, it is presumed that she was struck by a watercraft. This caused her to suffer from a pneumothorax (air trapped inside body cavity), so SeaWorld’s expert veterinary team placed the manatee in a wetsuit to stabilize the manatee’s buoyancy issue and was successful in removing the air trapped in the chest cavity.
Today, the manatee is no longer in the wetsuit and has been seen swimming more upright. Although showing signs of progress, the care team still remains guarded and has performed radiographs on the mother to ensure there are no broken bones or any other internal damage caused by the watercraft.
The mother’s young calf came in weighing approximately 97 pounds, measuring 4 feet and 5 inches, and still nursing from its mother. The calf has not left its mother’s side and has continued to nurse consistently throughout the rehabilitation process. The calf has also begun to take an interest in eating solid foods, which is a sign of good health.
FWC also rescued a young, orphaned, female manatee calf from the Satellite Beach area and transported it to SeaWorld Orlando. Upon arrival, the manatee was measured and the veterinary team obtained diagnostic samples. The orphaned calf received immediate nutritional support and is currently under a 24-hour watch by the SeaWorld Animal Care team.
The SeaWorld Animal Care Team will continue to work around the clock to provide these three manatees the highest quality of care with the ultimate goal of returning them back to their natural environment.
This year, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 11 manatees, and returned 13 back to the wild.
Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership
As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.
The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at www.manateerescue.org. The endangered Florida manatee is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.