TAMPA (FOX 13) - Zoo veterinary staff rescued and cared for a mother manatee and her calf before releasing them back into Florida waters Thursday.
The healthy manatee mother and her baby became stranded a few months ago after being injured by a suspected boat strike. Manatee care experts with Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo rescued them, nursed them back to health, and decided they were able to safely go back home Thursday.
In the midst of peak boating season, the Zoo warns boaters of the dangers collisions can pose for these gentle grazers.
The calf and its mother became stranded just before Mother's Day weekend. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Zoo's veterinary team went to the spot where the pair had been reported.
They were trapped in a canal. The mother's tail had severe damage, possibly sliced by a boat propeller.
They were rushed to the Zoo's David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center for medical care. The team wasn't sure if the mother could still nurse her calf. But thankfully the team was able to keep them both happy and healthy until their release.
The two were named Pascow (mother) and Cottee (calf) during their rehabilitation and recovery.
The Zoo's manatee care center is one of only a few in the state of Florida specifically dedicated to helping manatees rescued following boat strikes, cold stress, red tide, and entanglement in fishing lines and/or crab traps. To date, more than 400 manatees have been treated at the Zoo.