Two manatees rehabilitated at the Miami Seaquarium were loaded into a truck with the help of the Florida Marlins yesterday, to be released back into the wild in Jupiter. The two manatees, which were stressed by the cold weather during the winter, were to be released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Miami Seaquarium veterinarian Maya Rodriguez cared for Marlin and Wildcat as part of their rehabilitation efforts to save manatees that were exposed to the unusually cold winter or other problems. The two manatees have been under Rodriguez’s care at the Miami Seaquarium since Marlin arrived in April and Wildcat in June. Both manatees were very ill when found and underwent treatments for different problems. Although Wildcat was being treated for intestinal problems, Rodriguez explains that due to weather changes, “It’s been a rough year for manatees,” adding that 21 manatees were taken to Miami since January and about 600 have died since January in all of Florida. Marlin, for example, was emaciated due to the colder than usual winter.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manatee biologist John Cassady expressed his excitement when they released the manatees into a canal that leads to the Intracoastal Waterway, saying, “They’re ready to go back in the wild again.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists work with a network of agencies and organizations to rescue manatees and transport them to rehabilitation facilities. SeaWorld Orlando, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Lowry Park Zoo, Miami Seaquarium, and Dolphin Research Center are all facilities in Florida that are authorized under the joint supervision of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the FWC to capture, transport and/or treat endangered manatees. SeaWorld Orlando, Lowry Park Zoo, and Miami Seaquarium are the only facilities authorized for critical care and rehabilitation of injured or sick manatees or orphaned calves.
Unrelated photo from http://floridakeystreasures.com/keysblog/category/animals/mammal/manatee/