SeaWorld Orlando have recently returned a pregnant manatee rescued from Nantucket Sound, Massachusetts, into the waters at River Breeze Park in Oakhill, Florida. The manatee, known as Washburn, has had an exciting journey over the last month, travelling by U. S Coast Guard plane from Connecticut to her Florida home.
Originally rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and then sent to the Mystic Aquarium for initial treatment and stabilisation, Washburn arrived at SeaWorld Orlando for full rehabilitation. Her return marks the end of her rescue adventure and the beginning of a new chapter in her story.
SeaWorld's Animal Rescue Team and veterinarians took care of Washburn and her unborn calf for two weeks. During that time, Washburn received complete physicals to monitor her health, including sonograms to check her unborn calf. A daily diet of lettuce helped her gain nearly 40 kilograms. Today she weighs over 400 kilograms, heavier than a female polar bear!
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was also on site recording measurements and photo identification, and assisted as Washburn was fitted with a belt that will allow the Sea to Shore Alliance to monitor and track her journey in the wild.
Washburn is the 21st manatee the park has rescued in 2016 and the 18th to be returned.