Manatees will once again be on display at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's Manatee Springs.
Starting Sunday, March 28, visitors will be able to see three new orphans taken in by the zoo for rehabilitation through their partnership with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation program (MRP).
The three manatees are:
- Alby — A male manatee rescued in August of 2019 from the Halifax River in Volusia County, Florida. He weight 51 pounds when he was rescued; by October 2020, he weighed 215.
- Manhattan — This male was rescued from St. Augustine Beach in October 2019. He weighed 62 pounds then; as of October 2020, he weighs 227 pounds.
- SwimShady — Swim is also a male and was rescued from Berkley Canal in Brevard County in December 2020. He weight 98 pounds at time of rescue.
“We started renovating our manatee facility after our last two residents, Pippen and Truffleshuffle, returned to Florida in September of 2020 and stepped up the construction schedule so we could provide a home for these three orphans. We were originally slated to receive two animals. The third animal was added as result of the significant influx of rescued manatees at SeaWorld Orlando,” said Cincinnati Zoo curator Winton Ray in a release. “We look forward to helping these youngsters grow and eventually return to their native home.”
As part of the MRP — and as one of only two zoos outside of Florida that provides "non-critical" care to these animals — the Cincinnati Zoo takes in manatees in need and helps get them ready to be released back into native waters.
“In addition to rehabbing manatees, we get to educate and inspire visitors when they see these amazing creatures," said Ray.
Florida manatees are a threatened species and suffer injury and death as a result of being hit by boats, caught in flood gates or entangled in fishing gear; they are also susceptible to red tide, cold water and diseases.
The zoo says there are believed to be 13,000 manatees located mostly in Florida, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico.
For more information or to book reservations to go the zoo, visit cincinnatizoo.org.