SeaWorld Orlando has moved four manatee calves to an Ohio aquarium for rehabilitation, freeing up space to process more endangered marine mammals that are dying in Florida at an alarming rate
SeaWorld said DHL Express transported the manatees from its rescue and rehabilitation center to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday. DHL donated its services, including the flight.
SeaWorld said it received a record number of manatees requiring treatment at its center, one of only five manatee intensive care facilities in the United States. More than 1,000 manatees died in Florida in 2021, mostly from starvation. Water pollution from agricultural, urban and other sources has triggered algal blooms that have decimated the seagrass beds that manatees depend on.
“This transport was necessary to make additional space for rescued manatees requiring emergency intensive care,” SeaWorld said in a statement. “Animals will receive care until they gain enough weight to return to Florida waters when conditions are favorable.”
DHL transported the manatees in custom-built containers and they were monitored throughout the flight by a Columbus Zoo veterinarian. His aquarium is one of two facilities outside of Florida that treats manatees.