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Manatee released back to the wild

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Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014 8:02 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Mon Jun 9, 2014.

MANATEE COUNTY, FL- Nearly 2 years after being rescued off Longboat Key, "Longo" the manatee is once again swimming in the wild.

“The South Florida Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium staff were pleased to wish Longo well as he was returned to the wild this morning,” said Marilyn Margold, the Museum’s Director of Living Collections.  “Longo has been with us for just under a year, during which time he gained weight and recuperated from a bout of cold stress he suffered in early 2012. Longo remained calm and cooperative as we made the trip to the Manatee Viewing Center at TECO’s warm water site in Apollo Beach. He quickly ventured out to explore the environment after he entered the water.”

Longo was released Thursday.  He is a young male manatee rescued on Longboat Key on January 19, 2012.  He weighed 271 pounds at the time of his rescue. After a stay at Lowry Park Zoo’s manatee hospital for critical care treatment, Longo was relocated to the South Florida Museum in February 2013 along with Cheeno (who was released in the Orange River on January 7 by Museum and MRP staff).

The Museum’s Parker Manatee Aquarium has cared for Longo until he was ready to be returned to the wild. By early January, he had grown to 715 pounds, a healthy release weight. He was transported to the release site by manatee care specialists from the South Florida Museum.

As part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, the South Florida Museum is a second stage rehabilitation facility that provides a temporary home for manatees until they are ready for release back to the wild.  The South Florida Museum has cared for 26 manatees, in addition to Snooty, as part of the rehabilitation program since joining the network in 1998. The South Florida Museum is also the permanent home to Snooty™, Manatee County’s official mascot and the oldest known manatee in the world.

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