The SeaWorld Animal Rescue team is back at it again. This morning, our team members headed out to the waterways near Merritt Island, Fla., to return Clay and Stokes – two beloved manatees – back to the wild. Donning their life vests, our team received great assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Sea to Shore Alliance.
Both manatees were rescued this past December due to cold stress, caused by harsh weather conditions. Manatees thrive in warm waters, so when the temperatures drop suddenly, the rapidly cooled waters can impose health complications. To put it into perspective, cold stress to manatees is similar to what hypothermia is to humans.
Clay (805 pounds) was rescued about 300 miles away from our rehabilitation facilities in Orlando. He was found in the Savannah River in Savannah, Ga., back on December 15. On the other hand, Stokes (600 pounds), was rescued from the St. Johns River near Jacksonville, Fla., ten days before Clay’s rescue.
Once both of these manatees arrived in our care, our team worked around the clock to ensure the manatees were brought back to great health. They received a full veterinary examination, fluids for dehydration and antibiotics to treat possible infections.
Thanks to the wonderful expert care our team provided, along with the beautiful and sunny weather, the manatees were deemed ready for return and went back to the wild.
So far this year, we have rescued 24 and returned 22 manatees back to their natural environment.
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