TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A manatee who was once so emaciated that animal care staff at ZooTampa thought he would not survive has made a full recovery and was released back into the wild.
According to a post on the ZooTampa Facebook page, Flapjack was rescued from the Weeki Wachee River last fall after being found unconscious and starving.
“He arrived non-responsive and was so severely emaciated he was not expected to survive,” ZooTampa said.
ZooTampa said staff started intensive critical care that involved tube-feeding Flapjack three times a day for months until he was strong enough to eat on his own. Over the course of his recovery, Flapjack gained over 500 pounds and he no longer resembles his namesake, the pancake.
“He had a long and difficult rehabilitation, but the resilience of manatees such as flapjack is truly inspirational!” ZooTampa said.
If you encounter a sick and injured manatee in the wild, report it to Florida Fish and Wildlife at 1-888-404-3922.