The SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team bid farewell to a rescued manatee on Thursday as he was released to the warm Florida waterways after a lengthy rehabilitation.
The male was rescued back in December from a power facility in Charleston, South Carolina. The rescue team consisted of members from SeaWorld Orlando and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The manatee was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for a medical exam and subsequent rehabilitation. The animal was then evaluated and given the green light for return to a local Florida waterway, which was on the manatee’s migration path.
As water temperatures in the area drop, the manatee remained close to the South Carolina power facility’s warm water outfall. Manatees thrive in warm waters and suffer cold stress, a serious illness, when exposed to cool waters for extended periods of time. In an effort to keep warm, the manatee isolated himself from adequate food supplies and naturally warm water.
During his three-month-long rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando, he was given the name Goose. He was returned near the Kennedy Point Marina in Titusville Thursday. Before the final well wish, a satellite transmitter was attached around his paddle like a belt. This will help teams track his movements and ensure that he follows the proper migration patterns next winter and doesn’t get himself into trouble again.
If you come across an injured marine mammal, you can help. To avoid injury to all involved, never approach or touch an animal in distress. Avoid sudden movements and loud noises. Call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device to report your sighting.