Orphaned manatees to return to Florida after receiving treatment in Ohio

CINCINNATI — A trio of orphaned manatees is almost ready to return home to Florida after spending more than a year in Ohio.

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SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan spent the last 18 months receiving rehabilitation at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Manatee Springs, the zoo said in a news release. The zoo has been a part of a program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership for two decades and has cared for 23 manatees.

SwimShady, a male, was rescued from Berkley Canal in Brevard County, Florida, on Dec. 19, 2020. At the time, he weighed only 198 pounds. He currently weighs 624 pounds.

Alby, a male, was rescued from the Halifax River in Volusia County, Florida, on Aug. 27, 2019. At the time of his rescue, Alby weighed just 51 pounds. He currently weighs 746 pounds.

Manhattan, a male, was rescued from St. Augustine Beach, Florida, weighing just 62 pounds on Oct. 28, 2019. He now weighs 609 pounds.

“Our primary goal, as a second-stage care facility, is to provide plenty of food and get the manatees to a healthy weight,” Cincinnati Zoo curator Kim Scott said in a statement. “These three have consumed about 166,158 lbs of food, mostly lettuce, during their time here and have gained a combined total of about 1,000 pounds.”

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of only a handful of places outside of Florida that offers non-critical care for manatees, WLWT reported. Officials told the station that due to demand, they expect more manatees to come to Manatee Springs this year.

Alby, Manhattan and SwimShady are scheduled to depart Cincinnati for Florida in early October.

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