SeaWorld, DHL partner to transfer rehabilitated manatee to Florida waters

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new partnership has returned a matinee to Florida waters after its eight-month rehabilitation journey.


SeaWorld and DHL announced Thursday that they have joined forces to transport the manatee from Texas to Florida via air following its successful rehabilitation at SeaWorld San Antonio.

The manatee was rescued last December by the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, SeaWorld San Antonio, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Texas State Aquarium, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Galveston Bay Foundation and Texas authorities.

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The manatee was found suffering from cold stress, flipper damage, severe weight lost and more in Texas waters. While manatees are typically known to reside in Florida, there have been increased seasonal migrations to other southern states in recent years.

Members of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership — including SeaWorld Orlando, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute and Dauphin Island Sea Lab — returned the manatee to Kings Bay in Crystal Lake on Thursday morning.

The manatee was transferred in a “custom, state-of-the-art container built specifically for manatees.”

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The manatee population is declining because of an ongoing unusual mortality event on the Atlantic Coast, according to a news release.

The manatee arrived at SeaWorld Orlando for a 48-hour observation period and once clear, was returned to Crystal River’s warm waters.

This marks the third manatee that SeaWorld San Antonio has rehabilitated due to an “uncommon presence of manatees in Texas,” according to a news release.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.