Seven rehabilitated manatees return to wild

Injured manatees get years of care from across country

By Kelly Pepperman - Producer

ORLANDO, Fla. - Seven rescued manatees are now back in Florida waterways following years of collaborative rehabilitation efforts from multiple facilities across the country.

Florida manatees face both natural and man-made threats.

This group has suffered a variety of injuries requriring rehabilitation, from cold stress to watercraft injuries and malnutrition. All seven manatees were returned to the wild this week. 


•    Rescue date: Bambam was rescued Jan. 18, 2015, as a young calf. 
•    Injuries: Severe cold stress.
•    Rehab location: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. 
•    Recovery: He spent two years gaining weight and was returned to the wild last year, but teams determined he was suffering from cold stress and dehydration.

•    Rescue date: Goober was found alone as a young calf in 2017.
•    Rescue location: Desoto Canal in Indian Harbour Beach, FL.
•    Injuries: Malnutrition. He was so thin when he was found, the rescue team thought he resembled a peanut. They affectionately named him Goober, after a Southern nickname for “peanut". 
•    Rehab location: He spent over a year at the Columbus Zoo before this week’s return.

•    Rescue date: Agua was rescued on June 24, 2016, as a calf with her injured mother, Claro.
•    Rescue location: Clearwater, FL.
•    Injuries: Watercraft injuries. 
•    Rehab location: Columbus Zoo.

•    Rescue date: Camlee was rescued as an orphan calf May 11, 2015.
•    Rescue location: Cape Coral, FL.
•    Injuries: Malnutrition during her first rescue, cold stress and weight loss during her second rescue. 
•    Rehab location: ZooTampa, later transferred to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, then taken to SeaWorld Orlando.

•    Rescue date: Percy is a female who was found in late 2017.
•    Rescue location: Jacksonville, FL.
•    Injuries: Cold stress.
•    Rehab location: SeaWorld Orlando’s acute care facility, Jacksonville Zoo.

•    Rescue date: MJ is a female who was found in May 2016.
•    Rescue location: Satellite Beach, FL.
•    Injuries: Malnutrition.
•    Rehab location: SeaWorld Orlando, Jacksonville Zoo.

•    Rescue date: Not provided.
•    Rescue location: Not provided.
•    Injuries: Malnutrition. Baca was rehabilitated for several years.
•    Rehab location: SeaWorld Orlando and South Florida Museum.

The manatees were cared for as part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership. SeaWorld Orlando, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, South Florida Museum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are all part of the initiative.

“SeaWorld Rescue is on call 365 days a year, 24 hours a day,” said Jon Peterson, manager of rescue operations at SeaWorld Orlando.

If you see an injured marine animal, you are asked to call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

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