The Cincinnati Zoo has been part of the US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation for more than 20 years. The zoo has looked after 23 manatees, 18 of which have returned to Florida.
“We were originally supposed to have two animals,” said Ray. “The third animal was added due to the significant influx of rescued manatees at SeaWorld Orlando. We look forward to helping these youngsters grow and eventually return to their homes. “
The zoo is one of two facilities outside of Florida where manatees are cared for in a non-critical way. By providing second-tier care, the Cincinnati Zoo is helping free up space in intensive care units and giving Ohioans the opportunity to see manatees up close.
ExploreThe Cincinnati Zoo is expecting the first sloth pup this fall
“The goal of the MRP is the rescue, rehabilitation and release of manatees. We are honored to play a role in this important conservation work,” said Ray. “In addition to rehabilitation of manatees, we can educate and inspire visitors when they see these amazing creatures.”
According to the zoo, the Florida manatee was downgraded from endangered to threatened in 2018. Existing threats include exposure to red tides, cold stress, disease, boat knocks, crushing through lock gates or sluices, and entanglement or swallowing of fishing gear.
Visit www.cincinnatizoo.org to see SwimShady, Alby, and Manhattan, and other animals at the Cincinnati Zoo. Reservations and face masks are required at this time.