This week four rehabilitated manatees returned to their natural habitat thanks to a joint effort from SeaWorld, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, South Florida Museum, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, and Sea to Shore Alliance.
The four manatees – Bambam, Gale, Cassie and Buckeye – were all brought in at different times, and stayed in captivity for between six months and two years, with the goal to get the animals back into the wild as quickly as possible.
For these four manatees, the main issue was that they were too small to survive during the colder seasons. Both Cassie and Buckeye were roughly 65-pound orphaned calves when they were rescued. In order to be released they needed to be at least a healthy 600 pounds to be able to survive in cool conditions.
Prior to being released, all four of the manatees were measured and three of the four have been fitted with GPS devices that will allow SeaWorld to continue tracking the manatees and check in on their condition.
If you're interested in tracking the manatees as well, you can do it here: