Conservation Information: SeaWorld Expands Manatee Care Facility

Manatees at Seaworld. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Her title is Quantity 44. She acquired this auspicious title as a result of she’s the forty fourth manatee rescued by SeaWorld in 2022. Regardless of the severity of her accidents, she’s one fortunate woman to obtain care at SeaWorld Orlando’s Manatee Rehabilitation Space.

“This animal got here in with extraordinarily deep propeller wounds,” explains Supervisor of Rescue, SeaWorld Orlando, Brant Gabriel. “Judging by the dimensions of the accidents, I’d say it’s probably from a bigger barge.”

They introduced Quantity 44 in together with her child, who had not been weaned. “The newborn stays together with her, is now not underneath care however consuming sufficient lettuce to placed on weight frequently,” says Gabriel. “Everyone needs your children to go massive and robust, and we do the identical. We be certain that these little guys are continually placing on weight.”

Quantity 44 is only one of many manatees which have acquired care at SeaWorld in 2022. As of August 25, SeaWorld has rescued 52 manatees at its Orlando facility, and the numbers proceed to develop. SeaWorld has develop into one of many largest manatee rescue operations on the earth and maintains considered one of solely 5 manatee crucial care amenities within the nation.

The manatee inhabitants has been dying off in huge numbers, particularly alongside Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Roughly 1,100 manatees died in 2021, which is 15 % of the entire inhabitants in Florida. The trigger is a scarcity of meals due to the seagrass beds being destroyed by poisonous algae blooms and pollution.

Gabriel agrees that the dearth of vegetation is an amazing drawback. “Our rescue numbers had been elevated final winter. The manatees are congregating to the nice and cozy water sources, so you’ve gotten an amazing variety of manatees making an attempt to feed across the similar vegetation.”
Meals isn’t an issue at SeaWorld, the place they obtain two mammoth deliveries of romaine lettuce every week to feed the recovering mammals.

Manatees at Seaworld, getting therapy. (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

To get an thought of how a lot lettuce is in that supply, it’s estimated {that a} manatee eats round 10 to fifteen % of their physique weight in vegetation every day. To interrupt that down, a 1,000-pound manatee would most probably eat between 100 and 150 kilos of meals a day. For those who take into account many grownup manatees weigh between 2,600 to 2,800 kilos and might even develop to three,500 kilos, that’s plenty of romaine.

Essentially the most harmful time of 12 months to be a manatee is April 1 by means of November 15, when manatee zones require boaters to decelerate to stop manatees from being killed or injured, very similar to Quantity 44. Boat strikes are one other main risk to Florida manatees.

The Way forward for Quantity 44

Once they introduced Quantity 44 into SeaWorld, her state of affairs was dire. “The entrance left flipper or pectoral flipper on this manatee was partially amputated,” explains Gabriel. “A number of surgical procedures later, the higher pectoral flipper was eliminated in surgical procedure. It nonetheless has plenty of therapeutic occurring, plenty of scar tissue.”

Senior Vet Technician at SeaWorld Orlando, Heidy Clifford, is treating Quantity 44 with laser remedy to advertise therapeutic. They’re additionally utilizing therapeutic massage remedy to verify the muscle groups heal accurately.


The Vet Technicians work in a tri-pool complicated with a big spherical pool flanked by two barely smaller oval swimming pools. SeaWorld just lately expanded and interconnected all three swimming pools with shade coverings. As a substitute of diving into the swimming pools to deal with the manatees, SeaWorld has a crucial care elevate ground that raises the animals safely to the waterline to manage medical care and therapy and carry out well being checks.

Their major purpose is rehabilitation and launch again into their pure habitat. Gabriel is optimistic about Quantity 44’s probabilities. “She’s had earlier births out in her pure habitat. She had a child and was nursing the infant when she got here in. The newborn is now not nursing and consuming lettuce. She’s ending up her therapeutic course of, and regardless that she has one flipper, she’s undoubtedly a launch candidate; as soon as medically cleared, we’ll launch her.”

Gabriel emphasizes that it is a workforce effort. SeaWorld is a member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), which incorporates different key companions and manatee rescue facilities such because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fee, South Florida Museum, and Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park.

And her title?

The quantity 44 is controversial. The Egyptians take into account it some of the lucky numbers, whereas the Chinese language take into account it essentially the most unlucky, synonymous with dying. Both approach, Quantity 44 will lose this lucky or unlucky moniker quickly. Gabriel explains, “The physician who has contributed a lot time and power to this case will probably be provided the prospect to call her.”

House | Constructing Again Safer After Hurricane Ian | The Florida Wildlife Hall | 10 methods to attach (with) the Florida Wildlife Hall | The Tree That Was a Testomony to Time | SeaWorld Expands Manatee Care Facility | 10 Enjoyable Info concerning the Manatee | Conservation Information Map