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Rescued and rehabilitated manatees released into Florida park

Manatees from multiple rescue facilities were released at Blue Spring State Park on 13 February 2023. The park is a vital warm-water habitat for manatees and one of the largest winter gathering sites for this species in Florida. These included three manatees rehabilitated at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden - who were among the 12 released as part of the unprecedented mass release. The 12 animals that were part of the successful release were mainly orphans - and are named Alby, Swimshady, Asha, Scampi, Ferret, Finch, Artemis, Bianca, Lilpeep, and Maximoff. One adult male, Inigo, is experiencing his second release having originally been released in 2022 before being struck by a boat and needing more rehabilitation. All animals will wear GPS tracking devices to allow researchers the ability to monitor manatee movement and ensure their acclimation to their natural habitat for the next year. Monitoring will also be critical to the continued understanding of how manatees are adjusting to the fluctuating habitat conditions they need for survival. “Over the past several years, we have been called upon to rescue an alarmingly high number of injured, sick, and starving manatees off the Florida coastline,” said Monica Ross Chairman of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership and Director of Manatee Research and Conservation for Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute.“Through the efforts of the MRP partners, I am thrilled that we were able to return the highest number of manatees to their natural environment in a single day,” she added