Crevasse the manatee has been successfully been released back into the wild after being rescued in November and cared for at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens' Manatee Critical Care Center.
U.S. Navy members discovered the manatee beached on the Mayport shoreline and contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Crevasse was showing signs of cold stress from prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees, which can be deadly for manatees.
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“Cold stress can negatively affect many different organ systems such as the GI tract. Our vets and zoo staff were able to work quickly to treat Crevasse’s dehydration and get him back in good health," said Craig Miller, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens curator of mammals and leader of the Marine Mammal Response Team, in an email to WJCT News.
Crevasse was previously captured and monitored between December 2010 and March 2011 for a study of the winter range of manatees. He was tracked within the Indian River and upper Banana River for the entire period, which is near the area where he was released this Wednesday.
Crevasse is the 14th manatee released by the zoo since it opened the Critical Care Center in 2017.
Last month, another manatee, Briar Rose, was released in Cocoa after being treated at the Critical Care Center.
“Today’s release was rewarding for everyone involved in his rehabilitation, and we all are excited to have Crevasse return to Florida waters after just three months in our care,” said Miller.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, a Manatee Festival will be held at the zoo to celebrate the conservation of the species. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Great Lawn. The event is included with zoo admission.