Manatee

River Safari Cares for Abandoned Manatee Calf

IMG 1 Baby manatee Canola

Born August 6th, 2014, female Manatee calf ‘Canola’ is the offspring of Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s largest Manatee, 23-year-old ‘Eva’. For unknown reasons, Eva abandoned her latest calf, despite having successfully raised eight offspring in the past and being a grandmother of two.

IMG 2 Aquarist Keith So bottle-feeds baby manatee Canola

IMG 4 Aquarist Keith So conducts physical check on baby manatee Canola

Baby manatee Canola swimming with manatee herd at River Safari's Amazon Flooded ForestPhoto Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

To ensure that animals in River Safari retain their parental behaviors, zoologists strive to have the parents raise their offspring. In the case of Canola, there was no other option but to have aquarists hand-raise the newborn.

The 33kg (73 lb) abandoned calf, at River Safari’s Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit, had to be watched 24 hours for the first few days, fed every two to three hours during the first three months, and re-introduced gradually to her family. It was a Herculean task that the team of aquarists dived into to give baby Canola a fighting chance to live.

Mr. Wah Yap Hon, Curator at River Safari, said, “Hand-raised animals tend to imprint on their human caregivers. The babies will attach themselves to, and learn certain behaviors from their human foster parents, and may not have a chance to bond with their family or other members of their species. In the case of Eva and Canola, we stepped in as a last resort to ensure the survival of this precious baby.”

Similar to caring for a human baby, hand-raising an animal baby requires planning and hard work. For Canola, it involved bottle-feeding every two to three hours, from 8am to 10pm daily, for the first three months. To increase her fat intake and substitute her mother’s highly nutritious milk, Canola was given a special milk formula infused with canola oil, which inspired her name. To ensure Canola’s safety, the aquarists moved her to a shallow holding pool, to minimize the risk of other manatees crowding her and making it challenging for her to rise to the water’s surface to breathe.

“Under the doting care and great team effort of her human caregivers, Canola steadily gained weight and hit all the important developmental milestones of a healthy calf. By December, Canola started swimming with the rest of the herd in the main aquarium, forming close bonds with her species,” said Wah.

Since February, Canola’s caregivers have gradually cut down on her milk intake to four feedings a day, to accommodate her increasing diet of vegetables. Manatees spend six to eight hours a day grazing on aquatic plants, which is why they are also known as ‘sea cows’. Adults typically consume 50-100kg 110lb to 220lb) of vegetation a day, equivalent to 10-15 percent of their body weight.

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Meet the Manatee Calf at ZooParc de Beauval

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On April 24, France’s ZooParc de Beauval welcomed a male Manatee who weighed 55 pounds at birth!  The not-so-little baby will spend the next two years living with his mother, Femore, in the zoo’s tropical exhibit. 

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10390110_837133642978250_6056935410077492482_nPhoto Credit:  ZooParc de Beauval

Manatees are the world’s only herbivorous aquatic mammals.  At the zoo, the Manatees collectively eat more than 500 pounds of vegetables each day.  Their favorites?  Lettuce and potatoes.  In the wild, Manatees feed on underwater grasses.  They live only in warm coastal waters and inland marshes. 

All three species of Manatees (South American, West Indian, and West Africa) are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  People are the main threat to Manatees, through collisions with boat propellers, toxic algae blooms, pollution, and entanglement in fishing gear.

The birth of this Manatee calf is important to the European Breeding Program. 

See more photos below.

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Rescued Manatee Orphan on the Mend at Lowry Park Zoo

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is well-known for its ongoing work rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing sick or injured West Indian Manatees found in Florida waters.

Their most recent addition is an orphaned Manatee named Jobin.  He was just a few days old and weighed just 55 pounds when he arrived at the zoo’s Manatee Hospital.  Now six weeks old, Jobin has gained almost 20 pounds! 

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Photo Credit:  Lowry Park Zoo

West Indian Manatees, also known as sea-cows, weigh up to 1,300 pounds as adults.  Manatees are mammals – hence, they nurse their young and give birth to live babies.  They feed on underwater vegetation and inhabit coastal waters, estuaries, and freshwater springs.  Manatees prefer warm shallow waters and often gather in large groups.

Manatees are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  They face threats from propeller strikes and toxic algae blooms.

The Lowry Park Zoo works in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Florida Marine Research Institute, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or sick Manatees.  The zoo’s Manatee Hospital is one of three critical care facilities in Florida to care for West Indian Manatees and the only non-profit facility. 


Rescued Manatee becomes a mom at Lowry Park Zoo

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An adult female Manatee named Joannie, who was rescued from a Florida river, gave birth July 13 to a full-term male calf at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. The birth marks only the fourth in the zoo’s history, with the first occurring in May 2000. While at the Zoo, Joannie has also became a surrogate mother to an orphaned calf.

The male newborn, nicknamed Lad, is healthy and weighed 66.8 pounds after birth, and has been growing at the rate of approximately 10 pounds per week.

At the time of her rescue on January 31, Joannie was suffering from cold stress, which can be likened to hypothermia in humans.  The consequences of cold stress can be severe and often result in death.  Aware that she was expecting, the Zoo's Manatee rehab team monitored Joannie carefully to find out if the calf had survived its mother's life-threatenting condition.

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After the birth of Lad, Joannie became a surrogate mother to an orphan Manatee nicknamed Cheeno.

Cheeno arrived at the Zoo on February 15 suffering from cold stress as well. Though not a newborn, he has now established a bond with Joannie. On occasion, Lad and the 142-pound Cheeno can be observed nursing at the same time, on opposite sides. With Joannie’s help, Cheeno is packing on the pounds. 

The Zoo’s Manatee rehab team hope to release the mother Manatee with her own dependent calf and “adopted” orphan calf this fall or winter. 

Photo Credits:  Dave Parkinson


Rescued Manatee Gives Birth at SeaWorld!

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A pregnant Manatee rescued by SeaWorld’s Animal team in June has given birth to a healthy Manatee calf. Born early on Wednesday morning, between 3 and 6 a.m., the newborn calf has been nursing and bonding with mom in a back area pool. SeaWorld’s Animal Care team is on 24-hour watch keeping a close eye on the pair, who are both doing well.

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Photo credit: SeaWorld Orlando

 

Read the story of the rescue and the birth below the fold.

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Valentine The Baby Manatee Is Singapore's New Star!

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Singapore Zoo celebrated the latest addition to its family on February 13, 2012 when one of its grand dames, Eva the 20-year-old Caribbean or West Indian Manatee, gave birth to male twins.

Unfortunately only one of her offspring survived. The other died soon after birth and was found to have a heart defect. Twin births are extremely rare for Manatees, which are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

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Photo credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore 

Female Manatees reach sexual maturity as young as three years, and typically give birth to a single calf every two years, after a gestation of 12 months. It takes a further 12-18 months to wean the calf. With seven children and two grandchildren to her name, Eva is truly a star. Singapore Zoo now boasts nine of these fascinating creatures, the largest collection among the world’s ISIS institutions.

 

The newborn has been christened Valentine, and can already be seen independently exploring the pool although calves usually do not stray from their mothers for the first one to two years of their lives. The last manatee birth was in 2010, a male named Junior that is often seen playing with his baby brother.

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Manatee and Mommy at Zoo Beauval

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Though not a traditional time of year for manatee births, Zoo Parc de Beauval in France welcomed a manatee calf yesterday! The little one has been seen suckling and swimming near mom in its first 24 hours.

Manatees are born underwater and mom helps the calf get to the surface to take its first breath. The babies can usually swim on their own within the first hour after birth. While they only nurse as calves, they will grow to become hearty grazers...eating up to a tenth of their weight in algae, weeds and grasses in a single day!

Sometimes called sea cows, manatees are actually graceful swimmers despite their size. They never leave the water but need to come to the surface to breathe like all marine mammals. Often the only thing visible at the surface of the water is their nose, but below, their powerful tails can propel them along at 5 mph (8 kmph).

There are three species of this highly endangered animal, and they each live in different areas – one in the Amazon River, another along the west coast and rivers of Africa, and a third along the east coast of North America. Beauval Zoo is the only Zoo in France to have a manatee, which was born as part of as the European breeding program for this species (EEP). 

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Photo Credit: ZooParc de Beauval


SeaWorld Cares for Orphaned Baby Manatee

SeaWorld Orlando animal care specialists are a little bleary-eyed this week as they provide 24-hour care for a weeks-old, baby manatee. Orphaned by her mother, the female calf arrived at the park's rehabilitation center on July 24 after being rescued from the waters of Daytona Beach, Fla.

Every three hours the 3½-foot and 41-pound orphan is bottled-fed with the park's nutrient-rich baby formula that promotes weight gain. Her weight is taken every other day as animal care specialists closely monitor her progress. She remains in guarded condition and park veterinarians hope to eventually return her back to the wild.

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Photo and video credits: SeaWorld Orlando

The animal was transported to SeaWorld by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission.


Kee the Orphan Manatee

Baby “Kee,” found orphaned in the Withlaccoochee River in Florida arrived at the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo in April 2009.  Weighing only about 50 pounds and estimated to be just a few weeks old, she is one of the smallest orphans ever treated at the Zoo’s hospital, and was considered to be in critical condition.  


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She is receiving 24-hour care including night feedings, and has had some ups and downs as she continues to adjust to formula.  Animal care staff has paired the baby with a large adult female (or cow) named “Pneuport” (name is a combination of her injury and the city near which she was found).  The baby and cow have reacted very positively to one another, often seen nuzzling and sleeping together, and the baby will sometimes swim on the cow’s back.  The keepers report that Pneuport is very sweet and attentive, acting as a mother figure, although unable to feed the baby.  

Because these photos don't show the whole little guy, we have also included this video of another baby manatee taken in 2008 at the Lowry Park Zoo: