Featured Image Credit: Miami Seaquarium
Earlier this year, an orphaned manatee was released back into the wild after assistance from Miami Seaquarium. Junebug was brought to the aquarium after she was abandoned by her mother.
Many manatees die every year due to abandonment, so it is important that facilities are able to take in these animals and care for them. Last year, orphan manatee deaths totaled 116 out of the 538 recorded manatee deaths.
Junebug was lucky that people spotted her in time. Once she was taken in, the aquarium staff was able to provide medical support to keep her healthy until she was ready to return to the wild. The young manatee required constant care and needed to be bottle fed for a year. At the time of her release, she was transported by truck from Miami to Tampa to join a large group of manatees in the area. She was first recused in Naples, but rehabilitators want her to experience the warm water sites that are available near Tampa. Manatees need these warm waters areas to survive the chilly temperatures of winter.
At her release, she was fitted with a tracking belt that will follow her movements over the next year. You can follow her travels through the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership at www.wildtracks.org. You might be surprised how much a young manatee can travel!
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