Rescued manatee flown from Texas before release in Crystal River

Rescued manatee flown from Texas to Florida on cargo plane
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 8:16 AM EDT
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CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (AP) — An ailing manatee that was found and rehabilitated in Texas late last year was flown to Florida on a cargo plane and released into a bay near a wildlife refuge in Citrus County this week.

The manatee named TexasTeeMiguel was released Wednesday into Kings Bay in Crystal River. Late last week, TexasTeeMiguel flew on a DHL Express cargo plane in a custom, state-of-the-art container built specifically for manatees.

In the container, the manatee rested on a foam bed and was covered in wool and space blankets to maintain a healthy body temperature. TexasTeeMiguel was misted with water under its blankets throughout the trip. The manatee weighed 1,240 pounds, a gain up more than 400 pounds from when the manatee was rescued.

It was a 24-hour journey from San Antonio with stops in Austin and Cincinnati before reaching Orlando, where a team from SeaWorld Orlando kept TexasTeeMiguel for observation to make sure the manatee had not been stressed by the trip.

The manatee was found in Galveston Bay last December suffering from cold stress, flipper damage and severe weight loss, injuries likely incurred from a boat strike. TexasTeeMiguel was tagged and will be tracked and monitored during the next year.

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