Red tide manatees released in Homosassa Springs - WFLA News Channel 8

Red tide manatees released in Homosassa Springs

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HOMOSASSA SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) -

There was a big crowd of people gathered at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park to watch the release of three red tide manatees on Thursday. The manatees were all rescued from Lee County in southwest Florida. 

"It's something most people don't have the opportunity to experience," said Diana Zablocki, who came to see the rescued manatees.

Staff members from Lowry Park Zoo's Critical Care Facility brought the manatees from Tampa to Homosassa Springs by truck. Once they reached the park, the manatees were carefully lifted out of the truck, and then hoisted by crane into the spring.

"Some of the manatees are over 880 lbs., over 900 lbs., so that's the easiest way to transport them down to the pool," explained park manager Art Yerian.

Once released into the pool, the manatees quickly swam off into the main spring at Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. They'll be confined to the main spring, which is about an acre, until it's safe for them to go back out into the gulf.

"Due to the red tide that's in the area, we can't release them back where they would normally come from," Yerian said.

The manatees had been paralyzed by toxins released from the red tide. They spent weeks recovering at the Lowry Park Zoo Manatee Hospital. All three are now healthy enough to swim on their own.  

 

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