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South Florida Museum Releases Rehabilitated Manatee Back Into The Wild

The animal care staff at the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium released a young female manatee, nicknamed “Dese” at 10:20 a.m. today, Monday, 3-7-11, from a residential area along the Berkley Canal near Satellite Beach on Florida’s East Coast.

 

"Dese" Released by Volunteers

Twelve Museum staff members and volunteers worked with United States Fish and Wildlife, Florida Fish and Wildlife and SeaWorld to transport the manatee to Satellite Beach this morning, the area where she was originally found and rescued. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service transported Dese to the Lowry Park Zoo, a critical care facility, on March 24, 2010 for treatment of cold stress due to prolonged exposure to cold temperature. On Monday, 8-9-10, Dese was transported to the South Florida Museum for continuing monitoring and care.

“Our team has been carefully monitoring Dese’s progress and growth over the past six months,” said Marilyn Margold, Director of the Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium. “Our goal was to ensure she eats properly utilizing feeding patterns wild manatees exhibit, can surface and dive and has reached a healthy weight prior to her return to the wild.” Recently, Dese’s diet consisted of 70 pounds of romaine lettuce and 10 pounds of select vegetables daily. The animal care team, lead by the Museum’s consulting vet Dr. David Murphy, performed a health assessment on Feb. 9 where Dese’s blood work, heart rate and size measurements were recorded. Dese currently weighs 750 pounds and is 8 feet and 1 inch in length. Following positive results, a release plan was developed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to release the young manatee back into the wild this morning. The Museum team departed Bradenton at 6:15 a.m. and embarked upon three-hour drive across the state to the release site. Two additional manatees, nicknamed Estelle and Ellie Mae—which had been undergoing rehabilitation at SeaWorld in Orlando—were released just prior to Dese at the same release site.

As part of the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership, the South Florida Museum is a second stage rehabilitation facility and provides a temporary home for manatees, often times following the manatee’s transfer from a critical care facility. Dese has been monitored closely by the Museum and was able to reach a successful recovery. The South Florida Museum has cared for 22 manatees as part of the rehabilitation program since joining the network in 1998. Dese was originally transferred to the Museum with another young female manatee, Brandee. Brandee will likely remain in the Museum’s care until early 2012, or until she has reached the requirements for release.

The public is welcome to visit the South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium to view Brandee, the young female manatee who continues to recover, as well as Snooty™ the manatee, as part of Museum general admission.



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