Earlier today, following months of rehabilitation, SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Team and the Lowry Park Zoo returned two rehabilitated manatees to the waters of Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida.
The adult male, Sarge, was originally rescued due to cold-stress by The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Nov. 6, 2013 from Green Cove Springs, Fla. FWC transported him to SeaWorld Orlando, where he received months of medical treatment and rehabilitation, including antibiotics, regular tube feedings and other supportive care. At the time of his return, Sarge weighed 755 pounds and measured 7½ feet long.
Sarge was returned with a female manatee, Pixie, who received another chance at life in Florida waters. Pixie was originally rescued in 2010 by the FWC as an orphaned calf, and received care at SeaWorld Orlando, Columbus Zoo and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. She was returned in 2014, and subsequently rescued for further conditioning.
So far in 2015, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued three and returned one manatee back to its natural environment.