ORLANDO, Fla. – Animal care workers helped transport a manatee back to the wild on Thursday after six months of rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando.
The manatee, named “Crumpet,” had been under close watch since February after it was rescued in Palm Beach County.
Angela Ledford works with Florida Power and Light’s Manatee Lagoon and said she noticed the underweight animal in January at an outflow area adjacent to the FPL Riviera Beach Clean Energy Center.
“We’re not exactly sure what happened with Crumpet,” Ledford said. “What we knew that day when we saw him was that he desperately needed help.”
Ledford said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to try to help, but the manatee had already left the area and could not be found.
A couple of weeks later, the manatee was rescued and transported to SeaWorld after it was spotted in Broward County.
Candace Moore, an animal care specialist at SeaWorld, said Crumpet was about 400 pounds underweight.
“He was very thin and emaciated. He was floating on his side,” Moore said. “We were really lucky because as soon as we put him in the pool he started eating. So, we were really happy to see that.”
According to FWC, 667 manatees have been found dead in Florida’s waterways since the beginning of the year.
An ongoing concern has been water pollution and a lack of seagrass.
SeaWorld said 52 manatees have been rescued at its Orlando facility in 2022.
“It doesn’t stop for us,” Moore said. “We’re constantly trying to get ahead and get these animals healthy as quick as we can and get them back into the natural environment.”
Now weighing a healthy 1,500 pounds, Crumpet was transported back to Palm County to be released at Anchorage Park in North Palm Beach.
Anyone who sees a sick, injured, dead or tagged manatee is urged to call FWC’s Wildlife Alert toll-free number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922) or #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone.