Rescued male suffering from hypothermia as local water temperatures drop
As much of the country prepares for dangerously cold temperatures this week, rescue teams in Florida are starting to see the effects of low water temperatures on the state’s manatee population.
Late yesterday, a 725 lb. sub-adult male manatee arrived to SeaWorld Orlando’s critical care animal hospital, suffering from symptoms of cold stress including abbesses and dehydration. The manatee was rescued in Lake Griffin near Eustis, Florida, in the center of the state, by Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), Sea2Shore and a local chapter of the Save the Manatee Club. After a field assessment, the animal was transported to the park where veterinarians started medical treatment and rehabilitation including 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.”
“Our goal for this rescued manatee is to continue to rehabilitate him here at SeaWorld, and return him to the wild when water temperatures warm up,” said Peterson.
In 2018 the SeaWorld Rescue team assisted with a record number 72 manatees suffering from a variety of aliments including cold stress, red tide and entanglement. SeaWorld works with the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who together monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.
The SeaWorld Rescue team is on-call 24/7, 365 days a year, giving marine animals a second chance at life.
SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 33,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.
The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.