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Disney’s Amazing Manatee Rescue Story and Conservation Efforts

Disney’s Amazing Manatee Rescue Story and Conservation Efforts

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Do you love hearing animal rescue stories? If so, see how Disney cares for manatees and one manatee’s journey back into her natural habitat.

Disney Animal Conservation

Credit: Susan

Disney Conservation works to protect the magic of wildlife for 26 years. Since 1995, its raised $120 million for organizations working protecting wildlife. Last year, Disney celebrated the 60 new grants made possible by Disney cast members.

The level of passion and teamwork Disney cast members dedicate to all animals is amazing. Not only do they care for animals at Disney’s Animal kingdom, but also for animals needing temporary care. For example, Disney recently worked with the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership to release of a 680-pound manatee named Plantaina.   

Plantaina’s Story

Credit: Disney, under the authority of USFWS

Plantaina is a young female manatee rescued as a baby near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When she was less than a week old, rescuers found her abandoned. She was just 28 pounds at the time, making her the smallest manatee ever rescued.

However, after a successful initial rehab, Plantaina was released back into the wild in February 2021. However, she lost weight and required more rehabilitation. For her second rescue, she stayed at The Seas with Nemo and Friends aquarium. After increasing her weight to 680 pounds, she was released back to her natural habitat in Florida.

Credit: KtP, check out the baby Hippos above at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Unfortunately, manatee rescues and rehabilitations are becoming more common. A severe lack of food is causing concern. In addition, runoff and pollution threaten their main food source.

Each of these large herbivores eats up to 300 pounds of seagrass a day. However, many are beginning to starve from the lack of aquatic plants, negatively affecting this endangered species. 

Collaboration with Other Facilities

Credit: Disney

Collaborating with other rehabilitation facilities in Florida, Disney’s animal care experts provide ill and injured manatees. In addition, these manatees receive top notch veterinary care. This includes preventive health exams, a calorie-rich diet and around-the-clock monitoring.

Once released, some manatees like Plantaina are assigned a satellite tracker. The trackers enables experts to continue to monitor the animal’s health, migration and socialization with other manatees. However, if they become entangled, these trackers automatically break off the manatee to prevent injury.

Other Manatees Rescued

Credit: Disney, under the authority of USFWS

Plantaina is one of six manatees to complete rehabilitation at Disney over the last year. To date, Disney assisted in the rehabilitation and release of 25 Florida manatees. While being rehabilitated, manatees receive up to 150 heads of romaine lettuce each day depending on their individual needs. Also, they feast on the occasional treat of apples, carrots and sweet potatoes. Everything they eat helps them increase in weight so they can be released back into the wild.

In addition to the releases, the Disney Conservation Fund provides grants to more than 15 nonprofit organizations to better understand manatees. Other organizations help restore seagrass and others care for manatees.

Check out Disney’s video below on rescuing manatees:

What are your thoughts on Disney’s Conservation Fund? Do you enjoy reading heartwarming stories like this of rescued animals? Please share your thoughts with us on our Facebook Page or in the comments below.

Source: Disney Parks Blog

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