Featured Image Credit: SeaWorld
The entire state of Florida has had an eventful week cleaning up and putting their lives back together after the passing of Hurricane Irma. One group of people, in particular, were extra busy: the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team. The team was called in to assist after receiving many reports of stranded, displaced, and injured animals from the storm.
A poor little manatee calf needed lots of help after being found orphaned or abandoned in Southwest Florida, most likely because of the changing tides and water levels during Hurricane Irma. Manatee calves and moms have tight bonds, and if a calf is seen without a mom around for several hours it’s very likely that calf has been orphaned. Since manatees nurse for 1-2 years, a calf on its own has very little chance of survival.
Many government agencies were also called to assist with rescuing animals after the hurricane. But the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission were the ones who rescued the manatee calf and took it to SeaWorld Orlando. The SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team immediately provided the calf with fluids and nutritional formula. The veterinary team also took x-rays to make sure everything inside was functioning properly and thankfully, it was!
For the next several months, an animal care specialist will give the calf a bottle every three hours. The calf will be feeding on a nutritional formula created by SeaWorld that replicates mother’s milk.
So what’s next for this little lonely manatee? Well, orphaned calves are typically rehabilitated until they are at least 600 pounds. It usually which usually takes about two to three years for them to get to that size. At that time if they are deemed healthy they will be returned to their natural environments.
In addition to the baby manatee, SeaWorld’s Rescue Team assisted in successfully rescuing and relocating six manatees that had stranded in the Melbourne, FL area due to the hurricane.