Manatee Springs at the Cincinnati Zoo got some new residents over the weekend.
The zoo says it welcomed three 1-year-old manatees – Soleil, Calliope and Piccolina – to its facility for their second stage of rehabilitation on Saturday, Nov. 5. Florida Fish and Wildlife rescued the manatees from different parts of southwest Florida in the spring and summer of 2021.
The manatees were very small when they were rescued, according to the zoo, with each weighing between 44 and 62 pounds. ZooTampa has been caring for Soleil, Calliope and Piccolina for the last year, and they’re now up to 350 pounds. However, they must reach 600 pounds before they can be released into the wild.
Cincinnati Zoo is able to provide that next stage of care to help get the manatees back into the ocean. They and ZooTampa worked with the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership to move the manatees to their temporary home this past weekend.
“Piccolina, Calliope and Soleil have amazing stories of survival and resiliency, and each are doing extremely well. We are confident that with continued care at the Cincinnati Zoo, their successful journey will continue as they move towards the eventual goal of returning to Florida waters,” said Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health, conservation, and education at ZooTampa, in a press release.
“Keeping them together for the next stage of their rehabilitation journey will help them adjust to their new surroundings,” Cincinnati Zoo’s curator of mammals Kim Scott said in the release.
Cincinnati Zoo has cared for 26 manatees, including these three new ones, since opening Manatee Springs in 2000. It’s one of only a handful of places outside Florida where people can learn more about these animals and what’s being done to protect them.
Visit the Cincinnati Zoo at 3400 Vine St., Avondale. Find more information at cincinnatizoo.org.
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