3 Rehabilitated Manatees Released in Florida Keys

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Key Colony Beach, Bla. Florida Earlier this year the Keys were returned to the Canal of Keys after being treated and rehabilitated at SeaWorld Orlando.

Crews from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Dolphin Research Center, Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and SeaWorld helped move the trio from transport trucks to land and then to water on Tuesday.

“Three animals in one day … is nothing special,” said Dolphin Research Center Medical Director Dr. Scott Gearhart said. “It’s wonderful to take in an animal that needs your help and release them … all three of them.”

Measuring 11 feet (3.3 meters) and weighing 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms) each, the manatees were rescued in April, June and July, respectively. Their medical conditions include boat strikes, skull fractures, severe malaise and gastric problems, dehydration and bloat.

Manakey weighed 460 pounds (209 kilograms) when rescued on June 10. The marine mammal weighed 1,005 pounds (456 kilograms) when it reentered the water.

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Treatment ranges from removing bone fragments to antibiotics and nutritional support.

Marine mammal experts are reminding the public to be vigilant while boating in Florida waters.

“We share waterways with these animals,” Gearhart said. “They move very slowly, and they tend to get involved in things, and you have to be careful what your activity is in the water.”

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