Thursday morning (August 2, 2012), SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue team traveled to Merritt Island, Fla. to return a rescued manatee and her two-week-old calf to their natural environment.
Based on her size at the time of her rescue in June, SeaWorld’s veterinary team suspected the manatee could be pregnant. After performing a sonogram procedure on the gentle giant, it was confirmed that she was pregnant and about six weeks later, the calf was born. SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Care team kept a close eye on the pair, to ensure they were both healthy enough for yesterday’s return.
Once the pair had bonded and the veterinary team confirmed that the calf was nursing successfully, the park’s animal experts felt the pair had an excellent chance to survive on their own. SeaWorld’s ultimate goal is to return rescued animals to the wild once they are in good health.
Yesterday morning, the two-week-old calf is prepared for transport to Sykes Creek.
Prior to returning the pair into the water, the female manatee was injected with a PIT tag (microchip) which provides an identification number for the animal.
Also, a harness was placed around mom's paddle that was attached to a satellite tag for tracking purposes.
Finally, the pair was successfully returned into the waters in Merritt Island, Fla. together! SeaWorld's animal rescue team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. So far in 2012, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 12 manatees.