Injured manatee rehabilitated by SeaWorld released into Orange River

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Injured manatee rehabilitated by SeaWorld released at Fort Myers Beach.

One particular Florida manatee is going home for the holidays. A team released the manatee in Lee County Monday morning in front of an eager audience.

The young female manatee with boat strike injuries was rescued in Oct. by FWC near the Fort Myers Beach pier.

The team at SeaWorld rehabilitated it and gave this manatee a friendly farewell.

A research associate with the FWC Southwest Florida Marine Mammal Program, Denise Boyd said, “Today, we’re releasing a manatee back into the wild.”

Mallorie McCormack is a senior animal care specialist on the SeaWorld rescue team. She said, “She was positively buoyant, just floating high in the water.”

After getting much-needed care at SeaWorld in Orlando, She became neutrally buoyant. So she was able to go up and down the water column with no problem,” McCormack explained.

It’s no easy feat. She’s seven-foot-long and nearly 400-pounds.

Much to the excitement of Orange Harbor neighbors, and visitors like 10-year-old Luca Meloni, is that she’s finally back home.

“It was really cool because you just get to see like, this is a rare occasion. So you just see a manatee coming in. It’s really cool,” he exclaimed.

Just in time for the holidays.

If you see a distressed or dead manatee, you’re urged to contact FWC’s hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or call #FWC or *FWC from your cellphone.

Be prepared to provide information for the following questions:

  • Is the manatee alive or dead?
  • When did you see the manatee?
  • What is the exact location of the manatee?
  • How long have you observed the manatee?
  • What is the approximate size of the manatee?
  • What is the location of the public boat ramp closest to the manatee?
  • Does the manatee have a “tag” attached near its tail?
  • Can you provide a contact number where you can be reached for further information?

After contacting the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline, a manatee biologist will call you back to the number you provided. In the meantime, please take pictures and/or a video of the manatee to send to the biologist. This footage can assist in determining what is wrong with the manatee and/or to help identify the individual through any unique characteristics if it happens to leave the area prior to further evaluation of its condition.

If you are not sure about contacting the FWC, please review some of the reasons that manatees are rescued.

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