TAMPA, Fla — A mother manatee died during transport for rehabilitation on Monday, but her calf was able to safely make it to ZooTampa, wildlife officials said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission received multiple reports of an injured mother manatee near the main spring in Kings Bay through the FWC Wildlife Hotline on Dec. 5 and 6.
USFWS Crystal River Wildlife Refuge staff and FWC volunteers were able to locate the mom and her calf Monday and stayed with them until a rescue team was able to transport the two, an FWC spokesperson said.
Although the mother manatee died, the female calf appears to be in good health, is stable and has no underlying problems, ZooTampa said. The calf was placed with other manatees of similar age and is swimming around with them — which is a good sign, a spokesperson for ZooTampa said.
The calf has been named Kristana. She's receiving supportive care twice a day until she begins eating on her own and ZooTampa is hopeful Kristana will be able to return to Florida waters once she reaches 600 pounds and remains healthy.
But until then, ZooTampa is sure that the calf will be with them until at least next winter. In total, there are 12 manatees in their care.