PORT ST. JOHN, Florida -- An orphaned manatee calf was rescued on Monday from the Indian River near the FPL power plant in Port St. John, Fla. by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
The estimated two-week-old female was spotted swimming alone by members of the FPL power plant, who contacted the FWC.
The calf, which weighs 48 pounds and measures 48 inches in length, was transported by the FWC to SeaWorld Orlando, where the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team and veterinary staff performed a complete health exam, took blood samples and began providing an antibiotic treatment. The calf will receive around-the-clock care, including regular tube feedings, and her health will continue to be monitored.
The calf joined three other orphans, who are also receiving rehabilitative care at the park. Manatee calves normally nurse for one to two years. They depend on their mothers not only for nutrition, but also for learning about feeding and resting areas. SeaWorld Orlando uses a special formula created by the park’s animal care team specifically for manatee calves to ensure they are receiving proper nutrition.
So far in 2014, SeaWorld has rescued 8 and returned 7 manatees back to their natural environment