The Male Manatee was Released in Port St. John Wednesday

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Jan. 29, 2020) — The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens returned an adult male manatee back to the wild Wednesday morning with the help of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Brevard Zoo.

The manatee, named Crevasse, is the 14th manatee released by the Zoo since the opening of the Critical Care Center in 2017. He was rescued on Nov. 21, 2019 and brought to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to be treated at the Manatee Critical Care Center. He was discovered by members of the U.S. Navy who contacted the FWC when he was beached on the Mayport shoreline in Jacksonville. Crevasse was showing signs of cold stress from prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which can be deadly for manatees.

“Crevasse had a serious case of cold stress that we see frequently in our manatee rescues during the winter. Cold stress can negatively affect many different organ systems such as the GI tract. Our vets and Zoo staff were able to work quickly to treat Crevasse’s dehydration and get him back in good health. Today’s release was rewarding for everyone involved in his rehabilitation, and we all are excited to have Crevasse return to Florida waters after just three months in our care,” said Craig Miller, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Curator of Mammals and leader of the Marine Mammal Response Team.

Crevasse was previously captured and monitored between December 2010 and March 2011 for a study of the winter range of manatees. He was tracked within the Indian River and upper Banana River the entire period, near the same area he was released Wednesday.

This release precedes the Zoo’s annual celebration of manatees and conservation of the species at the Manatee Festival on Feb. 15. The community is invited to this event,  included with Zoo admission, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Great Lawn.

Those who see an injured marine mammal should call the FWC hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or dial *FWC on a cellular device.

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens Manatee Critical Care Center is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at The Florida manatee was recently reclassified from endangered to threatened, but is still at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.

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