SeaWorld Orlando's Animal Care Team is now caring for four manatee calves which have been rescued at independent times over the past year. The four calves, who range in age from only a couple months old to about six months, continue to receive around-the-clock care from the SeaWorld Orlando Animal Care Team.
The oldest calf, a 113-pound female, was rescued this past May when she was found without her mother at only a few weeks of age. Since her arrival, the young female has gained 45 pounds and her health continues to improve. In early July, this female was joined by a second calf, an emaciated male, who weighed only 40 pounds upon arrival. The young manatee has gained a significant amount of weight since his rescue, currently weighing nearly 90 pounds.
Another orphaned calf was brought to the Animal Care Team in September after being found dehydrated and very thin. Since his rescue, this male has gained nearly 30 pounds and currently weighs over 90 pounds. The most recent calf, a nearly 90-pound male, was transported to SeaWorld just over a week ago. The two-month-old continues to receive tube feedings and is making progress in his health as he battles buoyancy and digestive issues.
Providing care for these manatee calves requires attention 24 hours a day, seven days a week by SeaWorld's manatee specialists. Three of the calves receive bottle feedings seven times each day while the youngest continues to be tube fed as he begins his transition to bottle feedings. The calves receive a formula specially created by the Animal Care Team that closely replicates the nutritional qualities of manatee milk.
SeaWorld's Animal Care team remains cautiously optimistic about the future of these four calves. The goal of their Rescue and Rehabilitation Program is to always return animals back into their natural environment, but there are certain times when injuries may be too severe or the animal may have been rescued too young to be successfully returned.