Yesterday was Manatee Appreciation Day, and SeaWorld Orlando opened a new area of the park called Manatee Rehabilitation. Guests can enjoy viewing these gentle giants, many of which are able to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild. 4 years ago, Manatees: The Last Generation was replaced by Turtle Trek, but SeaWorld has still been rehabilitating manatees behind the scenes. Guests can book a backstage tour to see them, but now portions of the rehabilitation area are open to the public.
Manatee Rehabilitation is close to Turtle Trek, with two manatees in a statue at the entrance.
It’s really a nice experience to be able to see the manatees up close here.
This water holds a few of the long-time manatee residents. Not all manatees can be returned to the wild, but they can help the newer generation of manatees – there are several babies here – become independent and wildlife ready. The baby manatees will be here for several years before they can be returned.
Several baby manatees were enjoying lettuce as I watched.
This turtle took a ride on one of the larger manatees.
SeaRescue is on the air every Saturday.
Here is our interview with Mike Boos, Vice-President for Zoological Operations at SeaWorld Orlando. It includes footage of the manatees.
Two manatees are sectioned off from the other body of water, they just need to put on a little more weight and they will be returned to the wild.
Jon Peterson is an Animal Care Supervisor at SeaWorld Orlando, and can be seen on SeaRescue.
Boat strikes are one of the biggest reasons that mantees are hurt or killed in the wild. But other reasons are cold stress and entanglement.
SeaWorld’s goal is to return the manatees to the wild.
A SeaWorld team member shows a manatee rib bone. The bones are pretty heavy and dense, which is why a small manatee doesn’t look heavy (but is). The average manatee in the wild is around 1000 pounds, though they can be much heavier than that.
We look forward to stopping by this area again very soon! And I recommend watching SeaRescue on ABC.