Wednesday, March 03, 2004

There's No Place Like Home

Two orphan manatees went back home early today -- sliding into the sultry waters of Biscayne Bay off Black Point Marina in Homestead.

Buttons, the smallest manatee ever rescued, weighed only 31 pounds when he was found in September 2001 with propeller scars and a collapsed lung. He was about a day old, his umbilical cord still attached.

After more than two years of rehab at the Miami Seaquairum, the creature now weighs in at 750 pounds.

Douglas, a 9-year-old manatee, also was found orphaned and brought to the Miami Seaquarium in 1995. He was transferred to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in 1999 and returned back to Miami in November, weighing over 1,000 pounds.

Both male manatees went through several months with trainers getting them acclimated to life in the wild, making sure they were comfortable with stuff like sea grass and sea water.


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