An orphaned manatee that was rescued and rehabilitated by the SeaWorld Rescue Team and partner facilities in 2015 had to be rescued once again late February 12. The teams were alerted to an unaccountable weight loss in the juvenile male named Buckeye.
Buckeye was originally rescued in Daytona Beach, Florida in September 2015. Orphaned and underweight, he spent more than two years with the SeaWorld animal care team for extended rehabilitation and care. This care included round the clock attention as well as bottle feedings. He was later transferred to the Jacksonville Zoo as part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in late 2017. When he was returned to Blue Springs State Park in March 2018, he was over 600 lbs. heavier which is a healthy and sufficient weight to be able to thrive in the natural environment.
The rescue that took place on February 12 was a preemptive intervention. Buckeye is back at SeaWorld Orlando and here the SeaWorld veterinarians are able to conduct diagnostic testing to determine the cause of the weight loss. The team is hopeful that Buckeye will be able to return to Blue Springs State Park in the near future.
The SeaWorld Rescue Team is on call 24/7, 365 days a year. Their work gives marine animals a second chance at life that they would not have had. In 2018 alone, the SeaWorld Rescue Team assisted with a record number of 72 manatees. These manatees suffered from a multitude of issues includes cold stress, red tide, and entanglements. The goal of the SeaWorld Rescue Team is to rehabilitate and return the animal as quickly as possible.
The Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. This partnership consists of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), South Florida Museum, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Jacksonville Zoo and Sea to Shore Alliance as well as SeaWorld Orlando.
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