Members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team traveled to the Charleston, S.C. area this past week, where — along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources – they helped save a wayward manatee.
The manatee was spotted in the upper reaches of the Cooper River, near a warm water outflow area. Due to dropping water temperatures in the river, the manatee remained close to the warm water outflow, leaving it isolated from an adequate food source and naturally warm water. Historically, manatees move into warmer waters when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.
On Friday, December 11, after hours of searching, the team successfully rescued a very large male manatee, weighing over 1,300 lbs. This animal is known from the Port Everglades, Florida area. The male manatee was brought to SeaWorld Orlando for a medical examination and monitoring before it can be cleared for return to a local (and warm) Florida waterway. Another smaller manatee was also seen in the Cooper River but attempts to locate that animal have not been successful.
Local authorities are asking the public to report any sightings of that animal to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources at: 843-953-9360 or 1-800-922-5431 or to report them to the agency’s manatee sighting website: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/manatee/sight.htm.