SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue team is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of animals from all over the country, working with Florida Fish and Wildlife, Sea2Shore, Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership and more to help animals in need. Yesterday, their need was heightened by the arrival of a male manatee found in Lake Griffin near Eustis, Florida.

As the temperatures decrease because of the polar vortex occurring across the country, aquatic animals, such as the manatee population, are feeling the chill as water temperatures drop. A sub-adult male manatee weighing 725 pounds was found in the central part of Florida, suffering from hypothermia, abbesses, and dehydration. After having a field assessment done, the manatee was transported to SeaWorld where veterinarians immediately started him on treatment of antibiotics, fluids and other supportive care.

“Even here in Florida, local water temperatures are starting to drop below 68 degrees, which is the threshold for manatees to survive,” explained Jon Peterson, SeaWorld Orlando’s manager of rescue operations.  “Manatees need warm water, and when temperatures drop they are at a high risk of succumbing to the cold.”

This male manatee is the first of 2019 to have succumbed to the cold waters and will be kept at SeaWorld for rehabilitation and will be released back into the wild when the water warms back up.

SeaWorld, in 2018, rescued and rehabilitated 72 manatees suffering from cold stress, red tide and entanglement. With the help and partnership of Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation, manatees are able to survive and stay safe once released back into the wild.  

You can see this male manatee being nursed back to health at the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Center at SeaWorld Orlando.