Gale the manatee is no longer on the mend, and she’s going with the flow — wherever she decides that may be.
The former resident of Bradenton’s South Florida Museum was one of four rehabilitated manatees that were returned last week to their natural waterways by members of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, which comprises the South Florida Museum, SeaWorld Orlando, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and the Sea to Shore Alliance.
Gale was rescued as a young calf on Dec. 29, 2016, along with her injured mother, Tsunami, who was suffering from cold stress and other injuries. She was released at Blue Spring State Park on the St. Johns River, a winter refuge for the sea cows.
Gale’s mother died shortly after being rescued. Gale then was taken to the South Florida Museum as part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership, where she was able to gain weight and prepare for her return, the museum said.
Three other fortunate manatees — Bambam, Cassie and Buckeye — also were released by the MRP last week. Bambam, who suffered from cold stress, spent two years in Cincinnati. Cassie was an orphaned calf in the Ormond River and spent the last six months in Jacksonville. Buckeye was rescued as an orphaned calf in Daytona Beach and also spent time most recently in Jacksonville.
Each of the four manatees released was rescued at a young age and required extended rehabilitation and care, the museum said.
Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at www.manateerescue.org.
Tom Alberts: 941-745-7040, @alberts_tom