Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Zoo
Here’s some great news for you! The Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio rehabilitated Abigail the manatee and recently sent her back home to Florida! The Cincinnati Zoo happens to be the second oldest zoo in the United States. It opened in 1875. The oldest zoo in the states is actually the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened its doors on July 1, 1874.
Abigail was the 14th manatee that was rehabilitated by the Cincinnati Zoo. She was transported to the zoo in 2013 because she suffered cold stress in the Indian River. Mr. James Vogel, the Cincinnati Zoo’s manatee keeper said, “ Upon her arrival in Cincinnati, Abigail weighed 295 pounds. She is now 630 pounds and ready to go back to her home turf.”
The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the two United States zoos outside the state of Florida that work in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Program. The other U.S. zoo participating in the Rehabilitation and Release Program outside of Florida is the Columbus Zoo. The Columbus Zoo is also located in the state of Ohio.
According to Cincinnati Zoo’s press release, Abigail, who is now a little over 3 years old will be released into the warm waters of Brevard County, Florida. However, she will first be transported to the Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne, Florida where she will once again be acclimated to the natural seagrass diet of manatees.
The Miami Seaquarium is one of three federally permitted manatee critical care facilities in Florida. The other two include; Lowry Park Zoo, and SeaWorld Florida. After treatment at these facilities, the manatees can be transferred to other Program partner facilities to continue rehabilitation. These partner facilities include; the Cincinnati Zoo, Columbus Zoo, EPCOT’s The Seas, South Florida Museum, and the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. Earlier this year I learned that the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens would be the newest partner facility, which is located in northern Florida.
Abigail is Cincinnati Zoo’s 14th manatee to be rehabilitated there. And she is the 13th sent back for release into the warm waters of Florida. Betsy the manatee, who was Abigail’s companion, will stay at the Cincinnati Zoo for long-term treatment. James Vogel said, “We will miss her but are happy to see her return home, fully recovered. She plays a vital role in the recovery of this endangered species.”
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee
New Manatee Rehab Center Slated for Jacksonville Zoo (July 30, 2015) http://www.kobeemanatee.com/new-manatee-rehab-center-slated-for-jacksonville-zoo/