Orlando, Fla. (February 13, 2019) – Late on February 12, an orphaned manatee all to familiar to SeaWorld Rescue members was back at SeaWorld Orlando after teams were alerted to an unaccountable weight loss in the juvenile male.
Buckeye The Manatee
Buckeye was first rescued in 2015 by SeaWorld staff after getting reports of an orphaned and underweight Manatee in Daytona Beach, Florida in September. For more than two years Buckeye was cared for by SeaWorld animal care team members for extended rehabilitation, including round the clock attention and bottle feedings. He later was transferred to the Jacksonville Zoo as part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in late 2017. In March of 2018 Buckeye was returned to Blue Springs State Park weighing in at more than 600 lbs. This was a heavier, a healthy weight to be able to thrive in a natural environment, especially during colder winter months.
Yesterday the rescue team did a preemptive intervention, which allows SeaWorld veterinarians to conduct diagnostic testing on Buckeye to identify the cause of the weight loss. The team is hopeful that Buckeye will be cleared for return to Blue Springs State Park in the near future.
As a Florida resident I am reminded daily of the care and conservation efforts SeaWorld and its devoted staff take which each and every rescue. Red tide hit Florida extremely hard in 2018, and without the ongoing and tireless help from organizations like SeaWorld the death toll numbers of Dolphins, Manatee and other sea life would be much much higher.
In 2018 the SeaWorld Rescue team assisted with a record number 72 manatees suffering from a variety of ailments including cold stress, red tide and entanglement. The goal with every rescue is to rehabilitate and return the animal as quickly as possible.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Museum, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Jacksonville Zoo and Sea to Shore Alliance work with SeaWorld works with the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who together monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.
The SeaWorld Rescue team is on-call 24/7, 365 days a year, giving marine animals a second chance at life.
All manatee rescue footage produced by SeaWorld under FWS permit number MA7701911
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