A dozen rescued manatees released back into the wild at Central Florida's Blue Springs State park

click to enlarge Twelve manatees were released into the wild in Central Florida recently - Photo courtesy Save the Manatee Club
Photo courtesy Save the Manatee Club
Twelve manatees were released into the wild in Central Florida recently

A record-setting 12 manatees were released back into the wild in Central Florida after rehabilitation in a single day this week, thanks to the efforts of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership.

The MRRP set loose a dozen manatees into the welcoming arms of Blue Springs State Park, renowned as a warm-water habitat for manatees and one of their biggest winter gathering sites in Florida.

These manatees had been rescued in the wild, after being left orphaned and starving by the grimly named "unusual mortality event" impacting manatees in Florida. (For context, 1,101 manatees died in Florida's waters in 2021.)

After rescue, the manatees were cared for and given time to convalesce by the MRRP and their various partner institutions — including a couple of Orlando theme parks.

Endearingly, all 12 manatees were named, so like it or not, we're running down the full list: Asha, Scampi, Ferret, Finch, Artemis, Bianca, Inigo, Lilpeep, Maximoff, Alby, Manhattan and … wait for it … Swimshady.

Seven of the above manatees completed their rehabilitation at SeaWorld, and one at The Seas With Nemo & Friends at EPCOT.

“Over the past several years, we have been called upon to rescue an alarmingly high number of injured, sick and starving manatees off the Florida coastline,” said Monica Ross, Chairman of the MRRP and Director of Manatee Research and Conservation for Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, in a press statement.

“Through the efforts of the MRP partners, I am thrilled that we were able to return the highest number of manatees to their natural environment in a single day.”

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