Featured Image Credit: Jim P Reid, USFWS
By Emily Persico
After three long years of rehabilitation, Mudpie the orphaned manatee has finally been released back into the wild.
Mudpie was found in St. Lucie County in March 2014, unsupervised and with no chance of survival. He weighed only 200 pounds then.
Miami Seaquarium, Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission teamed up to rescue poor Mudpie, and, until last week, he was under their love and care.
Now, after three years of growing strong, Mudpie has finally been released back to his home in St. Lucie County. He is nine feet long and weighs 900 pounds.
Like other manatees, this vegetarian giant will eat approximately 10 percent of his body weight each day in the wild—A whopping 90 pounds!
Mudpie has been steadily eating his way north since his release. To see where his new freedom takes him, track his location here.
Manatees are federally protected marine mammals, but they still face many threats, particularly from boating. If you see an animal in distress, make sure you report it to local wildlife authorities.