RE: (FL - US) Baby Manatee Rescued from Canal
- Baby Manatee Rescued From Canal
Malnourished Calf Given Feeding Tube
POSTED: 7:23 pm EST February 1, 2006
UPDATED: 7:57 pm EST February 1, 2006
MIAMI -- A baby manatee is in guarded condition after being found motherless and malnourished in a canal Wednesday afternoon.
Veterinarians at the Miami Seaquarium said the 3-month-old manatee calf was found in a 30-foot-deep canal east of Everglades City, Fla., Wednesday afternoon. The calf has been named Sea Grape after a canal near where she was found.
Sea Grape's skin was flaking from bacterial buildup and veterinarians said they believe she was without her mother for two weeks.
"Not having Mom there is stressful. Not having a food source is stressful, and then all of a sudden seeing strange people," said Dr. Maya Rodriguez, of the Miami Seaquarium.
At 80 pounds, Sea Grape, a West Indian manatee, is 20 pounds underweight. She is so malnourished that she needs a feeding tube.
Rodriguez said that the water where Sea Grape was found was too cold for the manatee.
"They can't withstand water temperatures below 65 for an extended period of time. Everything starts shutting down on them," Rodriguez said.
After an hour with the Miami Seaquarium veterinarians, Sea Grape was put into the Seaquarium's rehabilitation pool.
West Indian manatees are the largest of the four manatee species. Sea Grape could grow to be 4 feet long and weigh about 1 ton.
Doctors hope that the baby will be able to indulge in vegetarian diet and socialize with the adult manatees in the tank next to hers before being released into the wild in two years.
"When you put them in the pool with the other females, you can see it. They go straight for the females. The female starts checking them out and they start bonding. You can hear the communication between them," Rodriguez said.
Florida has a manatee population of about 3,000. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission asks anyone who finds a sick, injured or dead manatee to call (888) 404-3922.