Eight manatees are por-poised to be released back into the waters of Florida where they were rescued years ago.
The graceful sea cows, weighing as much as two Honda civics, were driven to the airport in specialized crates that monitored their conditions.
The crates were then loaded into a cargo plane at Cincinnati airport, and a pair of marine veterinarians accompanied them to ZooTampa and SeaWorld in Orlando.
Once there, they will complete the final stages of their rehabilitation before a release into the wild, the ultimate destiny of some 50 manatees that have left both the Columbus Zoo and Cincinnati Zoos’ rehab stage program.
“Moving manatees is an extremely complex process that involves significant planning and logistics to ensure that each specific need is met throughout the journey,” said Cain Moodie, SVP Network Operations, DHL Express Americas.
“Manatees are a critical part of our aquatic ecosystems, and we’ve been honored to be involved in their rescue, rehabilitation, and return for 47 years, working alongside our partners… to help preserve these beloved Florida icons,” said Dr. Joseph Gaspard, vice president of zoological operations at SeaWorld Orlando.
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Five young manatees started their own rehabilitation journey by catching the return flight back to Ohio, where they will hopefully attract plenty of visitors who will be able to see these gorgeous creatures, and learn what they can do to protect them.
To date, SeaWorld Orlando and ZooTampa have rehabilitated more than 1,400 manatees for release back into the wild.
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