JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (May 20, 2021) — Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens released a male manatee Wednesday in Salt Springs Recreation Area. He spent almost three months in rehabilitation and is the 22nd release from the Manatee Critical Care Center.

This is the second rehabilitation for the manatee. He was named Jesup for his original rescue location in 2020, Lake Jesup in central Florida. He was brought to SeaWorld to treat emaciation and cold stress syndrome, then released two months later to the same area.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI) was monitoring manatees in Salt Springs when Jesup was noticed being very thin and showing mild cold stress symptoms again. He was rescued and brought to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on Feb. 22.

“Jesup came to us very thin and dehydrated with low blood glucose. He started eating faster than any animal we have rehabilitated, which was a positive sign. His condition started improving quickly, however he had a decent amount of weight to gain so that has been our primary focus the last three months,” said Craig Miller, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Curator of Mammals.

Staff estimates that he is around 3 years old. Upon rescue, he weighed 513 pounds and was released Wednesday at 793 pounds. CMARI and staff at Salt Springs Recreation Area assisted the Zoo with the release.

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens’ Manatee Critical Care Center is an acute care, rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical treatment to rescued manatees. The manatee rescue and rehabilitation program is the Zoo’s largest regional conservation initiative, caring for 32 manatees since the Center opened in 2017.

 Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, along with other zoos, aquariums, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies, comprise the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership and work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at manateerescue.org. Florida manatees are a federally-protected threatened species, at significant risk from both natural and human threats. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, disease, boat strikes, crushing by floodgates and locks, line entanglement, and ingestion of pollution and debris are just some of the hazards facing one of Florida’s most iconic animals.

 To report an injured marine mammal, call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922 (FWCC) or dial *FWC on a cellular device.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit jacksonvillezoo.org.

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