MIAMI (CBS4) – Two orphaned West Indian Manatees rescued by the Miami Seaquarium are grown up and ready to rejoin their brethren in the wild.
The release begins on Tuesday when the animals will be loaded for transport to their release sites.
Kiandra and Glades, as they are called, were rehabilitated at the facility thanks to a partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership Sea to Shore Alliance.
Kiandra has been with the Seaquarium since her rescue in June of 2008. She was found as an orphan off of Key Largo. At first the young animal had to be bottle fed every two hours, but now as an adolescent she will be returned to the wild at the S20 water management canal near Turkey Point.
The reason the young animals are released in warm water is so that they will know next year where to return for warmer waters during frigid winters.
Glades was rescued near Port Everglades in October of 2009. She, too, is ready to rejoin wild manatees and will be returned to the area she was found in, according to the FWCC.
Both animals will be wearing a satellite tag from the Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership so that biologists can track them over the next year.
Life is hard for Florida’s manatees. They face daily dangers such as fishing line entanglement, being hit by boats, stress from the cold and pollution and habitat destruction.
Manatee survival depends on the help of rescue organizations.
To track both Kiandra and Glades from your computer go to the MRP website www.wildtracks.org.
(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )