950 Pound Manatee Rescued From Storm Drain
On Thursday a female manatee was taken to SeaWorld to be rehabilitated after being rescued from a Jacksonville storm drain.
The 950-pound manatee was discovered around 8 a.m. on Wednesday, said WJXT, by a city crew doing work in the area. Jacksonville Fire Rescue and Florida Fish and Wildlife workers spent nearly six hours attempting to set the manatee free from a drain pipe in the middle of a busy neighborhood near the Ortega area in Jacksonville..
“Every life is precious to us. Doesn’t matter who they are,” FRD District Chief Robin Gainey said to WJXT. “I’ve seen people put their lives at risk for a dog, and we get to them.”
Local children named the manatee “Venetia” after the neighborhood she was rescued out of. Firefighters named her “Piper” and sent her to SeaWorld in Orlando to be assessed for any injuries. Workers at SeaWorld used a large crane to lower the manatee into a tank where they would observe her.
“I don’t see any big wounds,” SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Stacy DiRocco told WKMG. “She may have some scrapes and bruises, but manatees are just amazingly tough animals.”
While at SeaWorld, veterinarians checked the manatee for a micro-chip, drew blood samples and gave her fluids.
The group of veterinarians determined “Venetia” would have to stay at SeaWorld for about a week for observations before being released back into the wild.
“No fractures, she’s moving her paddle normally, her pecs look great. She’s breathing well — nothing that looks too severe to me,” DiRocco said to WKMG. “After being trapped for so long, we want to make sure that she can move normally on her own, that she can swim and that she looks like a normal manatee.”
A team at SeaWorld will determine where the manatee will be released back into the wild.