Oh Man(atee): Blanche's Inspiring Story from Rescue to Release
February 28, 2017
Some of you may remember Blanche, the female manatee that was rescued in July of 2014 when she was found swimming alone in the Indian River. Well, after some time of rehabilitation this special manatee was returned back to the waters of Port St. John, Florida to begin her new life in the wild.
When Blanche first arrived at SeaWorld Orlando, she weighed barely 48 pounds and measured only 48 inches long. As a rescued calf she required round the clock care, which meant regular bottle feedings at the Manatee Rehabilitation Center. The SeaWorld Animal Care staff noticed that Blanche immediately began responding to her rehabilitation which meant that she was on the road to recovery!
A crucial part to Blache’s, and any manatee rehabilitation is weight gain. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) for a manatee to be deemed strong enough to be returned to the wild they must weigh at least 600 pounds. Today, Blache weighed 775 pounds. (Talk about a transformation!)
Upon her return, the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team and FWC recorded Blanche’s final measurements and fit her with a tracking belt. This belt will allow the Sea to Shore Alliance to monitor her continuing success and track her movements in the wild.
In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 29,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than 50 years.
If you see an injured marine animal, you can help by calling the Florida Marine Mammal Stranding Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.