This morning, SeaWorld Orlando’s animal rescue team returned its fifth manatee of the year into the waters at KARS Park in North Merritt Island, Fla. Claire, a 750-pound female, was rescued last June from the Cape Canaveral area after being hit by a boat.
SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team and FWC team members measure Claire before her return at KARS Park in North Merritt Island, Fla. The white area on her back is scar tissue from her wounds.
Because manatees are slow swimmers and dark in color, they are difficult to see in the water. Many manatees are injured and killed by propellers and hulls of speedboats. These collisions with boats and barges are the largest human-related factor causing manatee deaths in Florida.
Claire was returned to her natural environment today by SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team and FWC team members.
"Manatees are pretty elusive and sometimes they are hard to see,” said Randy Runnells, animal rescue team expert at SeaWorld Orlando. “We want to remind everyone to obey the No Wake Zone signs while boating in Florida and keep an eye out for these gentle giants,” he added.
Claire was welcomed by a few local manatees and is expected to thrive in her new home near the Banana River.
SeaWorld's animal care staff is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. And for the past 45 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need -- ill, injured and orphaned. More than 20,000 animals have been rescued by our experts at all of our parks, and most of those animals are successfully treated and returned to the wild.