ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - On Wednesday, SeaWorld Rescue announced that rescue teams in Florida are starting to see the effects of low water temperatures on the state's manatee population.
They say that on Tuesday, a 725-pound sub-adult manatee arrived to SeaWorld Orlando's critical care animal hospital, suffering from symptoms of cold stress, including abbesses and dehydration.
The manatee was reportedly rescued in Lake Griffin near Eustis by Florida Fish and Wildlife (FWC), Sea2Shore, and a local chapter of the Save the Manatee Club. The animal was transported to SeaWorld after a field assessment. Veterinarians immediately began 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, SeaWorld Rescue says that they assisted with a record number 72 manatees suffering from a variety of aliments including cold stress, red tide and entanglement. They work with the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.