DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Rescuers from The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens released a manatee that was rescued from a Volusia County waterway in August.
The 645-pound manatee, whom rescuers named Lusia, was brought to Manatee Critical Care Center at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens after being struck by a boat.
At the time of her rescue, Luisa was suffering from a collapsed lung and several fractured ribs.
“The injury to the manatee’s lung caused air to be trapped in her body cavity, keeping her buoyant on her left side,” said Craig Miller, curator of mammals and leader of the Marine Mammal Response Team.
Miller said he believes Lusia was found more than a week after being injured.
After spending three months at Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens being treated for her injuries and putting on weight Lusia was brought to Daytona Beach and released back into the wild.
According to data from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, approximately 25-30% of manatee deaths statewide are attributed to watercraft.
You can read more about boating safety and manatees here.