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Columbus Zoo Welcomes Rescued Manatees for Rehabilitation

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: October 24, 2020 10:30 am

Stubby the manatee with recent arrival squirrel

Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium/ Grahm S. Jones

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium have welcomed two new manatees which will complete their rehabilitation at the aquarium. They are 31st and 32nd manatees to be cared for at the aquarium since they joined the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in 1999.


The two manatees arrived at the Columbus Zoo on the morning of October 22nd and are known as Scampi and Squirrel. They were rescued from the wild in Florida and began their rehabilitation at the Miami Seaquarium.


Their arrival occurred in the same week that the last pair of manatees rehabilitated at the aquarium, Bananatee and Tostone returned to the Miami Seaquarium ready to return to the wild. You can read our story on their departure here – Rescued Manatees Return Home after Rehab at Columbus Zoo

manatee columbus zoo

Scampi the manatee in the manatee coast habitat

Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium/ Grahm S. Jones

Scampi and Squirrel were both rescued from the wild. Scampi arrived at the Miami seaquarium with her mother Jumbo after their rescue on November 22nd, 2019. Unfortunately Jumbo passed away from extensive injuries sustained from a boat strike.

Scampi was cared for by staff at the Miami Seaquarium and has since grown to a healthy weight of 90.7kg (200lbs). She still has lots of growing to do with adult manatees weighing up to 907kg (2,000lbs).

Squirrel was orphaned as a calf. At the Miami seaquarium she was placed with two adult females who provided her milk. She nursed from them and accepted lettuce too. She currently weighs 52.8kg (116.5lbs) and is one of the smallest manatees rescued at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

At Columbus Zoo Scampi and Squirrel will be rehabilitated alongside resident manatee Stubby. Stubby sustained significant injuries in the wild and is considered unreleasable. While she is evaluated every five years to determine if this has changed it is thought it will not.

Instead Stubby takes on the role of surrogate mother for orphaned and rescued manatees.

manatee columbus zoo

Squirrel and Scampi settle in to the enclosure at Columbus Zoo

Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium/ Grahm S. Jones

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“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is extremely proud to be a part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership program, through which we have assisted in the rehabilitation and release of over 30 manatees. Our team works hard to provide their expertise in assisting individual manatees and raise awareness with our guests about steps we can all take to help protect manatees and other aquatic species,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

“While it’s always sad to see that more manatees require rehabilitation, it's an important reminder that we all play an important role in conservation solutions. By visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and supporting these important programs, our guests are joining us in making a positive difference for manatees and other animals across the globe,” added Stalf.

manatee columbus zoo

Stubby and Squirrel the manatees in the Manatee coast habitat

Photo Credit: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium/ Grahm S. Jones

Manatees face a number of threats in the wild and Columbus Zoo and Aquarium help them as part of the MRP. They are one of only two facilities outside of Florida which help provide care to manatees.

Learn more about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on their website – Columbus Zoo

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