Partnership Rescues Distressed Manatee

On Friday November 1, rescue teams from SeaWorld Orlando and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation, responded to the call to help a distressed manatee in Palmetto Dunes Resort on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina and transport the animal to SeaWorld for additional specialized care. The sub-adult female manatee was found in an enclosed lagoon in the community. SeaWorld and Clearwater are members of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) and worked with the other organizations to help rescue the manatee.

Weighing 856 pounds with a length of 261 cm, the manatee is suffering from minor skin abrasions and is slightly underweight. She was relocated to SeaWorld Orlando where she will receive a full health assessment by the SeaWorld veterinary team, followed by a period of rehabilitation before she is returned to the wild.

US Fish and Wildlife Service Florida Manatee Recovery Lead Teresa Calleson said,  “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extremely appreciative of the efforts of Sea World, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, and the other conservation partners from South Carolina to Florida who stepped up quickly to help this young female manatee in need.  As a result of their efforts, this manatee will get a second chance to contribute to the wild population following rehabilitation.”

“In Palmetto Dunes, we strive to maintain the health of our waterways and all wildlife that inhabit it. When we found the manatee had navigated into our lagoon system and was not able to find its way back to the ocean, we immediately contacted DNR for assistance. We were fortunate that the rescue teams were able to quickly respond and rescue the manatee,” said Andrew Schumacher, CEO of Palmetto Dunes POA.

The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities that 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 is at risk from both natural and man-made 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 flood gates or locks, entrapment and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.

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. All manatee rescue footage produced by SeaWorld under FWS Permit Number MA7701911.

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