ORLANDO, FL – No one is really sure how an 800-pound, pregnant manatee wound up way north in Nantucket Sound. But everyone agreed about one thing: she had to get to warmer waters.
Manatees aren’t native to New England and the waters up there are just too cold for them to survive.
So the US Coast Guard, SeaWorld Orlando and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission got together and arranged for Washburn, as she had been named, to fly south to SeaWorld in Orlando – a much more manatee-friendly locale.
Washburn was carefully put on a Coast Guard plane in Connecticut, where she’d been rehabbing at the Mystic Aquarium after she was discovered up north. The crew then flew her 1,300 miles to Florida, where she is getting expert care from the veterinarians at SeaWorld. The plan is to make sure she is fine and then release her back to her natural – warmer – habitat.
When she arrived at the park, Washburn was placed in a rehabilitation pool and “immediately” began to snack on some tasty greens.
This isn’t the first time SeaWorld has rescued a manatee. So far this year, the park has rescued 20 manatees. Seventeen of them have been released back into the wild as of October.