Rehabilitated Manatees Head South

Posted October 14, 2013

Six Institutions Move Five Manatees in Three Days!


CINCINNATI (October 14, 2013) One rehabilitated manatee from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and two from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have returned to Florida, and new manatees in need of tender loving care are now receiving attention from the animal experts at the two Ohio facilities. The moves, which occurred October 11 thru October 13, are part of both zoos’ participation in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Program.

With the help of DHL, the world’s leading logistics provider, the “Sea Cow Shuffle” began on Friday, October 11, when “Woodstock” (Cincinnati) and “Pixie” and “Wheezy” (Columbus) were driven to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to board a DHL flight to Florida accompanied by an animal care specialist and veterinarian from the zoos. The animals will remain under the care of manatee experts at Miami Seaquarium, SeaWorld Orlando and Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, until winter when they will potentially be released near the areas where they were originally rescued.

The release of the manatees into Florida waters will occur in late winter and two of the large aquatic mammals will be outfitted with satellite tracking devices to continue to monitor their health and well being. Their movements will be tracked as part of the zoos’ participation in the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).  As part of the MRP, both the Cincinnati Zoo and the Columbus Zoo are second stage rehabilitation facilities that provide a temporary home for manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.   The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.

At each airport, the manatee crates were placed in an open-top cargo crate that was locked into the cargo hold. The manatees were kept as far away from engine noise as possible while waiting to be loaded and their crates were loaded last, so that they could be unloaded first after arriving at their destination.

“DHL is especially pleased to be part of this important manatee transfer and rehabilitation project,” said Joe Collopy, regional sales manager at the DHL Express Americas hub in Cincinnati. “DHL Express has many years of experience, successfully moving live animals around the world all in part to contribute to the zoos’ important work in protecting endangered species.”

Woodstock and her mother were victims of cold stress when they were rescued near the southwest coast of Florida on January 7, 2011. Woodstock was orphaned and taken to Miami Seaquarium when her mother did not survive. She weighed 420 pounds when she was rescued and was roughly 938 pounds when she arrived in Cincinnati in January 2013.  Pixie was the smallest manatee to ever come to the Columbus Zoo for rehabilitation.  She was rescued on July 24, 2010 after being spotted alone in shallow water near Daytona. She was estimated to be just a few weeks old and only 42 pounds when she was taken to SeaWorld Orlando, where she was hand reared by SeaWorld Orlando’s animal care team and cared for at the park’s rescue and rehabilitation center for more than a year before being transferred to the Columbus Zoo. Pixie is now 673 pounds. Wheezy was suffering from the effects of cold stress when she was rescued on January 15, 2011. She was one of three manatees rescued from the Desoto Canal in Satellite Beach that winter. When she arrived at the Columbus Zoo along with Pixie in November 2011, she weighed approximately 505 pounds; she now weighs 853 pounds.

The Cincinnati Zoo’s new manatee, “Abigail”, is a female, orphaned calf that was rescued from the Indian River system, near Merritt Island in Brevard County, Florida, in March 2013 and has been receiving care at SeaWorld Orlando.   She currently weighs approximately 275 pounds and will be joining, “Betsy”, a 22-year-old female, at Manatee Springs at the Cincinnati Zoo.  Abigail will remain behind the scenes at Manatee Springs for a few days after her arrival, but the Zoo will let visitors know as soon as she and Betsy are introduced.

The Columbus Zoo’s new manatee, “Rae”, was found swimming alone in Key Largo in July, 2012 before being rescued and taken to the Miami Seaquarium. Because she was suffering from hunger, dehydration and stress upon arrival, Miami Seaquarium keepers quickly took over around the clock parental duties.  Rae now weighs about 430 pounds.  She has joined Stubby, a 17-year-old female, in the 300,000-gallon Manatee Coast pool at the Columbus Zoo. Rae and Stubby will have access to both pools, both on exhibit and behind the scenes, until Rae is acclimated to her new surroundings.

“Without a doubt, manatees are one of the most charismatic creatures and certainly one of both Ohio zoos most popular animals,” said Thane Maynard, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.  “We are extremely proud to be part of this conservation program and excited to welcome both Abigail and Rae to Ohio.”

The Cincinnati Zoo and the Columbus Zoo are the only two facilities outside of Florida to participate in the USFWS’ Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Program.  The Program began in 1973 with the mission of rescuing and rehabilitating distressed and injured Florida manatees.  The fundamental purpose of the program is to release these rehabilitated manatees back into their wild habitat.  More information about the program is available from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (  As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), the Cincinnati Zoo and the Columbus Zoo are second stage rehabilitation facilities that provide a temporary home for manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.  The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees.  Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at

The endangered Florida manatee is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.


The world famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden was rated the #1 attraction locally and one of the top zoos in the nation by Zagat Survey.  It was recognized by Parents Magazine as #7 on the “Top 10 Best Zoos for Kids” and has also been recognized by Child Magazine as one of “The 10 Best Zoos for Kids.”  Over one million people visit the Zoo’s award-winning exhibits, and more than 500 animal and 3000 plant species annually. The Zoo is an accredited member of the American Zoo & Aquarium Association (AZA) and the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), and is internationally known for its success in the protection and propagation of endangered animals and plants, and engages in research and conservation projects worldwide.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 animals representing over 575 species from around the globe. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and 18-hole Safari Golf Club. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also operates the Wilds, a 10,000-acre conservation center and safari park located in southeastern Ohio. The Zoo is a regional attraction with global impact; contributing more than $1 million annually to support over 70 conservation projects worldwide. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Columbus Zoo has earned Charity Navigator’s prestigious 4-star rating.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment® inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The Company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012 and include the beloved SeaWorld®, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands.  The parks offer guests a variety of up-close experiences, from animal encounters that invite exploration and appreciation of the natural world, to thrilling rides and spectacular shows.  In 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment began expanding its popular brands into media and entertainment platforms to connect people to nature and animals through movies, television, and digital media; plus began developing new lines of licensed consumer products.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care.  The Company maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue and rehabilitate ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades.  SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs more than 21,000 people nationwide.

Miami Seaquarium, South Florida’s most popular tourist attraction, is a family-oriented marine-life park open to the public 365 days a year.  The park provides visitors with a greater understanding and appreciation for marine life through shows, presentations and marine-life exhibits.  Miami Seaquarium, a privately owned company, is an accredited member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums, an international organization committed to the care and conservation of marine mammals. Accreditation by the Alliance means this facility meets or exceeds all the standards of excellence for marine mammal care, husbandry, conservation and education. More information on Miami Seaquarium is available at

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in education, conservation and research. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), and has been named the No. 1 zoo in America by both Parents magazine (2009) and Child magazine (2004). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, one mile west of I-275 (exit 48) and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours on select nights during special events. Parking is free. For more information, visit  Also find the Zoo on Facebook.

DHL The Logistics company for the world

DHL is the global market leader in the logistics industry and “The Logistics company for the world”. DHL commits its expertise in international express, air and ocean freight, road and rail transportation, contract logistics and international mail services to its customers. A global network composed of more than 220 countries and territories and about 285,000 employees worldwide offers customers superior service quality and local knowledge to satisfy their supply chain requirements. DHL accepts its social responsibility by supporting environmental protection, disaster management and education.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL. The Group generated revenue of more than 55 billion euros in 2012.