Rescuers Release Dozen Orphaned Manatees Back To The Wild In A Single Day

US rescuers have celebrated the successful release of an unprecedented dozen manatees back into the sea in just one day.

The Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) released the adorable animals at Blue Spring State Park, in Orange City, Florida State, USA, on Monday, 13th February, following their successful several-year-long rehabilitation.

The 12 manatees involved were Asha from Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Scampi, Ferret and Finch from the Miami Seaquarium, and Artemis, Bianca, Indigo, Lilpeep, Maximoff, Alby, Manhattan and Swimshady from SeaWorld Orlando.

Most of them were reportedly rescued after they became orphans due to the ongoing unusual mortality event (UME) which has left thousands of individuals malnourished and starving.

Chairman of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership and Director of Manatee Research and Conservation for Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute Monica Ross said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “Over the past several years, we have been called upon to rescue an alarmingly high number of injured, sick and starving manatees off the Florida coastline.

Picture shows a close up of a manatee, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. Twelve manatees were released at Blue Spring State Park, on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. (Save The Manatee/Newsflash)

“Through the efforts of the MRP partners, I am thrilled that we were able to return the highest number of manatees to their natural environment in a single day.”

Manatee Rescue Coordinator from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission Andy Garrett said: “Today we want to recognize the outstanding dedication and efforts made by the stranding network partners and the MRP organizations who worked together to rescue and rehabilitate these 12 manatees.

“We are excited that those who safely rescued, transported and cared for these manatees are here now as we return them into Blue Spring to start the final phase of their recovery.”

All of the animals will reportedly wear GPS tracking devices in order to allow researchers to monitor their movement and ensure their acclimation to their natural habitat for the next year.

Ocean conservationists release a manatee on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023. Twelve manatees were released at Blue Spring State Park. (Save The Manatee/Newsflash)

The experts plant to use the collected data to better understand how orphan manatees adapt to the natural habitat and how they search for warm water for winter survival without the skills they should have learnt from their mothers.

Due to its famous Volusia Blue Spring, Blue Spring State Park has become one of the largest winter gathering sites for the species in the area.