Manatee returns to Miami Seaquarium
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A manatee has returned to South Florida for its final stages of rehabilitation before he heads back into the wild.
Thursday saw a happy homecoming for an endangered species. Wooten the manatee is back at the Miami Seaquarium.
His journey lasted two years and covered more than 2,000 miles, but it isn't over just yet.
The manatee was just a calf when it was rescued from Wooten's Pond in Collier County.
Crews delivered the orphan to the Miami Seaquarium. "He was pretty bad when he came in. He wasn't just an orphan, he also came in after the cold stress period," said Jodi Tuzinski, animal care manager at Miami Seaquarium.
From the Seaquarium, Wooten was taken to the Cincinnati Zoo in Ohio for rehab, and placed on a diet designed to pack on the pounds. The trip to the heartland worked. Wooten is now tipping the scales at 630 pounds, and his return flight to South Florida was not an easy one.
Wooten is now back at the Seaquarium for the final stage of recovery. He will wait out the winter before he heads back to the Gulf Coast where he'll be reintroduced to the wild early next year. "We think Wooten is ready. It will be good to see him go, but it will be sad to see him go," said Tuzinski.
This story serves as a good reminder that November is manatee awareness month. As the water gets colder in other parts of the country, manatees will be flocking to South Florida to stay warm. Boaters should always observe no wake zones.
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