Cape Cod manatee heads south

We are happy to say that Washburn, the wayward, pregnant manatee we rescued last month, is one step closer to returning to the wild in Florida.

Tomorrow Mystic Aquarium staff will conduct one final medical exam and ultrasound before carefully rigging up Washburn and lifting her out of the pool with a crane. Our team will then bring her to our marine mammal cart and roll her to our rescue trailer where we’ll collect a blood sample, monitor her breathing and heart rate and keep her warm during the 20-minute ride to Groton-New London Airport.

Once there she will be moved into her transportation box and ultimately brought onboard the US Coast Guard airplane (an HC-144) by forklift before making the five-hour flight to Orlando, Florida. If all goes as planned, she’ll spend a short time in rehabilitation at Sea World before returning to coastal waters.

I am grateful that the US Fish and Wildlife Service recognized our knowledge and expertise and provided us with the permit to make this important rescue happen.

I’m proud of our team, which worked tirelessly to plan and coordinate this massive effort.

We wish Washburn all the best on this final leg of her journey back to the wild.

--KM

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