ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) — A manatee is getting some “TLC” at SeaWorld Orlando, after people in Jacksonville rescued her from a storm drain.
“It was pretty impressive to see the rescue effort and see everyone chipping in. I believe they had to cut, cut and dig in order to get to her,” said Dr. Stacy DiRocco, a clinical veterinarian at SeaWorld.
After being trapped in the drain for at least six hours, workers freed the female manatee, transported it to Orlando, and used a crane to lower it into a rehabilitation pool at SeaWorld.
“I don’t see any big wounds, she may have some scraps and bruises,” Dr. DiRocco said. “Manatees are just really tough animals, so I don’t see anything that indicates to me that she has extensive injuries, fractures.”
Dr. DiRocco carefully examined the 950 pound mammal. She tested her blood and made sure her rather large patient was hydrated.
“She’s swimming well, coming up to the surface taking breathes. After being trapped for so long we want to make sure she can move normally on her own.”
The manatee was found near the St. Johns River. No one knows how exactly she got stuck in the storm drain.
“I wouldn’t say it’s common, but it’s happened before,” Dr. DiRicco said. “They are threatened animals, they are animals that we are so lucky to have.”
This manatee may be at SeaWorld for weeks or even months, as part of its recovery.