Two rescued manatees from ZooTampa transferred to Columbus Zoo

Two manatees, Einstein and Acorn, arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Saturday from ZooTampa.

Two young manatees rescued late last year in Florida have been transferred to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as animal care professionals prepare them for a return to wild waters.

The calfs, which arrived Saturday, are the 34th and 35th manatees to come to the zoo for rehabilitation since it joined the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership in 1999. The move alleviates capacity at ZooTampa, where the manatees had been living since they were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The nonprofit Tampa zoo operates one of only four critical care centers for manatees in Florida and also is a member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, a cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal entities dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, release and monitoring of manatees.

Einstein, a 470-pound calf, was orphaned when he arrived at ZooTampa in August after being rescued from the Steinhatchee River in northern Florida. He is not able to be released until he reaches 600 pounds.

Acorn was a 315-pound manatee when he was found floating off a dock in Crystal River in Florida. As of April 8, he weighed 430 pounds.

“Both manatees are doing extremely well in their rehabilitation, and we are confident that with continued care at the Columbus Zoo, Einstein and Acorn will be fully rehabilitated by winter and will be able to return to Florida waters,” Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health, education and conservation at ZooTampa, said in a written statement. “A stellar team of animal care professionals, curators and veterinarians from both organizations oversaw the transfer, which went off smoothly.”  

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