Live Broadcast Today

SeaWorld animal care experts have helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the past four decades, many of which have been manatees. Today [Thursday, July 18], four of those special creatures will be released LIVE at 10 a.m. ET! Pipsqueak, Braille, Nitty and Asaka will return to the waters of Eddy Creek in Brevard County, Florida and for the first time SeaWorld will broadcast the event! Animal enthusiasts from around the world can watch the event as it’s happening (Click here).

Manatees in rehabilitation pools at SeaWorld, Orlando

Manatees in rehabilitation pools at SeaWorld, Orlando

Braille, Nitty and Pipsqueak suffered mild cold stress last December after getting caught in the mosquito impoundment in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  They are doing so well with rehabilitation, they’re packing up and getting ready to roll!

Impoundments are earthen dikes that allow control over how
much water stands in the area to limit the number of mudflats,
so mosquitoes have fewer places to lay eggs and breed.

This past March, Asaka suffered from buoyancy issues which led to her rescue by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) from the Indian River in Merritt Island, Florida. While at SeaWorld, her buoyancy issues were resolved.

Buoyancy is the ability to float or rise when submerged in a liquid. Manatees
do not have swim bladders, and use their lungs to maintain “neutral
buoyancy” and their horizontal position while they graze.
Without this ability, they cannot properly feed.

Cleared for release, the four manatees will be fitted with a satellite tag that will allow the FWC to monitor the animals’ movements to ensure their success.

SeaWorld’s animal rescue team, along with Canaveral National Seashore and FWC team members, will participate in the release. Tune in, or follow on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram.

If you see injured marine animal, you can help by calling the
FWC hotline at 1(888) 404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

The Manatee Scientists, Book Review

The Manatee Scientists: Saving Vulnerable Species

Author: Peter Lourie
Pub Date: April 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-15254-7
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Intended for 10- to 14-year-old readers
Nonfiction

 

Another in the “Scientists in the Field” series, The Manatee Scientists by Peter Lourie is a armchair adventure for young readers and their families. The author journeys from the crystal clear inlets of Florida to the warm waters of Brazil, and to the mysterious rivers of West Africa watching over the “watchers” of various species of manatees. 

Manatees, such beautiful, gentle, and endangered creatures, were once mistaken for mermaids which is how they are classified into the group sirenians (for Sirens, a.k.a. mermaids). Dedicated scientists like John Reynolds, Fernando Rosas, and Lucy Keith study these remarkable creatures using technology, observation, and tons of patience in an effort to promote conservation and to ensure they survive for future generations.

 

A key theme of the book is “science informs conservation.” Watching manatee behaviors, both in captivity and in the wild, and using high-tech tagging and tracking instruments allows the scientists to understand “what’s normal” so they can best gauge their endangered status with the hopes of promoting growth of the various species.

 

Young readers will learn about the tools and instruments used, as well as getting a clear picture of just how much hard work and dedication goes into being a “scientist in the field.” (One of the author’s colleagues received numerous broken bones when tagging a manatee!)

 

The clear writing and sometimes humorous anecdotes* make this less of an “oh-do-I-have-to-read-this-science-book?!” and more of a “Wow-I’m-going-on-an-adventure” tale. The highly-readable style and personal touches, not to mention the beautiful photography, makes The Manatee Scientists a book I recommend with no reservations.
 

This is Daniel at a special “Behind the Scenes” look into Conservation at SeaWorld, Orlando.

* Reviewer’s note: Although this book is intended for older children, I read it to my 5-year-old who is very interested in marine science. He was especially tickled to hear about the importance of manatee flatulence in helping them maintain neutral buoyancy! Eating all that vegetation causes methane which manatees release to help them rise in the water. I’m pretty sure I’ll be embarrassed next time we visit the manatees at SeaWorld as he’s already calling his stuffed ones “Tooters.”

Manatee Born at SeaWorld Orlando

A sonogram taken July 20 clearly shows the calf’s spine and a heartbeat.

The pregnant manatee rescued in Merritt Island, FL on June 8 (read about it here) gave birth to a healthy calf July 18, 2012, sometime between 3 and 6 a.m. Both mother and baby are said to be doing well. The newborn is healthy, nursing and swimming close to its mother. SeaWorld’s Animal Care team has the pair under 24-hour surveillance.

The new baby gives its mom a little kiss!

The newborn calf sticks its tongue out, probably still “rooting.”

New calf bonding with mom in a back area pool at SeaWorld, Orlando.