SeaWorld Orlando and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Institute team up to rescue trapped manatee


  • Photo by Maegan Luckiesh/Unsplash
SeaWorld Orlando and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Institute responded in full force to a distress call on Friday, when an underweight female manatee was found trapped in an enclosed lagoon within Palmetto Dunes Resort in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

In conjunction with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation, the animal was safely transported to the SeaWorld Orlando facility where it will receive additional specialized care. The manatee also had skin abrasions, which are being addressed by veterinarians.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extremely appreciative of the efforts of Sea World, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, and the other conservation partners from South Carolina to Florida who stepped up quickly to help this young female manatee in need," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Florida Manatee Recovery Lead Teresa Calleson, in a press release. "As a result of their efforts, this manatee will get a second chance to contribute to the wild population following rehabilitation."
The Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership is responsible for ensuring cooperation between organizations, with a mission "to inspire and advance manatee conservation by partnering cooperatively in manatee rescue, rehabilitation, release, and monitoring efforts; improve understanding of manatee biology and health through scientific research; and promote stewardship and financial support through public education."

Established in 2001 as a means to combat the rise of manatee deaths, the MRP partners with 16 zoological institutions and uses ARGOS satellite tracking to monitor manatees in the wild.

The 856 pound, 8.5-foot-long manatee will receive a full health assessment by the SeaWorld veterinary team. This will be followed by a period of rehabilitation before she can be returned to the wild.

This comes at an interesting time for SeaWorld, with its last CEO leaving shortly before the company disclosed 100 layoffs earlier this year.

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