CINCINNATI — Three orphaned male manatees in need of rehabilitation arrived Wednesday at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
This is part of a collaborative effort by participants of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, a program designed to rescue and treat sick, injured and orphaned manatees and release them back into the wild.
“We are extremely proud to be part of this conservation program and excited to welcome Pippen, Miles and Mathew to their new home in Cincinnati,” zoo Director Thane Maynard said.
The manatees at the zoo’s Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Manatee Springs habitat. The space for the three orphans became available after two healthy manatees -- Betsy and BamBam -- were returned to Florida.
BamBam will be the 14th manatee from the zoo to be returned to the wild. He is expected to be released in early 2018.
Betsy, who has been at the zoo since 2010, will return to her birthplace, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, in time for her 27th birthday. She is not considered a candidate for release and will be cared for at the park.
ABOUT THE NEW MANATEES
- Pippen: Rescued from the Halifax River in June 2016 weiging 58 pounds. After critical care at SeaWorld Orlando, he weighs 225 pounds. He is the smallest manatee ever to live at the zoo.
- Miles: Rescued from the Sykes Creek on Merritt Island in August 2016 weighing 43 pounds. After critical care at SeaWorld Orlando, he weighs 320 pounds.
- Mathew: Rescued from New Smyrna in October 2016, right after Hurricane Matthew.. He weighed 56 pounds and is now up to 340 pounds.