SeaWorld And Jacksonville Zoo Return Two Rehabilitated Manatees

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 10, 2018) – This morning SeaWorld Orlando and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens returned two rehabilitated manatees. A warm water source near the St. John Boat Ramp provided the perfect location for this important manatee return.

The goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and return the animal as quickly as possible. This remains the case even during winter months. Throughout the year, The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) closely monitors environmental factors of Florida waterways including water temperatures, which allows for rehabilitated manatees to be returned year-round. Returning manatees to a warm water source also allows the rescued manatees to familiarize themselves with the warm water site so they can return to it again the next time temperatures cool down.

Rehabilitated Manatees Returned:
Harper Lee- This sub-adult female manatee was rescued on November 9, 2017 from Sikes Creek in Merritt Island Florida due to an entanglement. During her rehabilitation she received routine wound treatment as well as antibiotics for infection caused by the entanglement.

Carolina- The sub-adult female manatee was Jacksonville Zoo’s first critical care patient at their new facility. She was rescued in Charleston, South Carolina as part of a larger operation to relocate wayward manatees that found themselves trapped in the Cooper River when water temperatures quickly dropped last November. Carolina was exhibiting mild cold stress and it was determined by SeaWorld and Jacksonville veterinarians onsite that she would require rehabilitation. Over her six week rehabilitation she was able to heal from her cold stress injuries and regain her strength.

In addition to returning two rehabilitated manatees, SeaWorld Orlando transferred a young rescued manatee to the Jacksonville Zoo. As part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) facilities are able to work together shifting rehab animals between facilities to ensure future rescues are not turned away. With the Jacksonville Zoo taking this young rescue for continued rehabilitation, SeaWorld Orlando now has more space for future critical rescues.

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at The Florida manatee was recently reclassified from endangered to threatened, but is still at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.

All manatee rescue footage is produced by SeaWorld under the FWS Permit Number MA770191.

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

About SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS) is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world.

SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 27,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of globally recognized brands including SeaWorld®, Shamu® and Busch Gardens®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 11 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection of over 800 species of animals. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit


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.

Manatees Rescued from Merritt Island

SeaWorld manatee rescue December 2012This past week SeaWorld Orlando Animal Rescue Team has been involved in rescuing three manatees trapped in waterways in Merritt Island National Refuge where they were unable to navigate back out. Each exhibited symptoms of cold stress.

121218_manatee_4 121218_manatee_3 121218_manatee_2 121218_manatee_1

The manatees, one male and two female, were taken back to SeaWorld Orlando where they were assessed. Blood samples were taken and all will be monitored closely for the next few days while they receive exceptional care and a healthy diet.

SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment works in collaboration with the government and other accredited stranding agencies to rescue ill and injured marine animals. In 2012 they have rescued 19 manatees, 10 of which have already been returned to their natural habitat.121218_manatee_6

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.

All photos courtesy SeaWorld Orlando through footage produced by SeaWorld under FWS Permit Number MA7701911.

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


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.

Rescued Manatee is Pregnant

Pedro Ramos-Navarrate, Supervisor of Animal Care, and SeaWorld Animal Care Experts steady the female manatee in the rescue boat.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescue team members work alongside SeaWorld rescue and rehabilitation workers to transport the injured female manatee rescued near Cocoa Beach, FL.

The 10-foot manatee rescued on June 8 from Sykes Creek in Merritt Island, FL from crab trap line injuries has been determined to be pregnant by SeaWorld animal care experts.

After assessing and treating her injuries to her right flipper, the 1,400-pound adult was given an ultrasound which confirmed the animal care expert’s suspicion (based on her large size). Manatees usually have a 12 month gestation period, though it is unknown exactly how far along she is at present.