Columbus Zoo to help rehabilitate four rescued manatees

Four new manatees are making their temporary home in Ohio as the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium helps rehabilitate them.

Lizzo, Cardi-Tee, MaryKate and Ashley were welcomed to the zoo earlier this week after they were transported from SeaWorld’s Orlando Rescue and Rehabilitation Center. The four rescued manatees were transferred to Columbus make more room for additional patients at SeaWorld, according to a joint statement from the facilities.

“We are incredibly proud that—even from our location in the Midwest—the Columbus Zoo is working with dedicated partners to take an active role in helping these amazing animals in crisis. It is truly devastating to see what is happening to manatees,” said Becky Ellsworth, curator of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Shores & Aquarium region. “Every individual manatee is important to the species’ future. These new arrivals represent the 36th, 37th, 38th, and 39th manatee that the Columbus Zoo has rehabilitated since Manatee Coast opened in 1999.”

SeaWorld’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Center is one of five manatee critical care facilities in the U.S. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida is experiencing a high level of manatee moralities and has reported 23 preliminary deaths so far this year.

Lizzo, Cardi-Tee, MaryKate and Ashley were rescued by the FWC and have been rehabbing at SeaWorld for the past 12 to 18 months. The Columbus Zoo is one of two facilities outside of Florida to care for manatees and serve as a second-stage rehabilitation facility. Once the manatees have gained enough weigh to survive on their own they will return to SeaWorld before being released back to the wild.

To help move Lizzo, Cardi-Tee, MaryKate and Ashley, DHL Express used custom-built containers. The containers A Columbus Zoo veterinarian and animal care curator accompanied the manatees on their journey to monitor their conditions.

“DHL is thrilled to be a part of this effort to help preserve the manatee population,” said SVP Network Operations and Aviation for DHL Express Americas Cain Moodie. “We value the partnership we’ve established with SeaWorld and the Columbus Zoo in this endeavor. Moving manatees is an extremely complex process, and our extensive logistics planning and care ensures a safe and quick transport on the aircraft.”

Lizzo, Cardi-Tee, MaryKate and Ashley will join five other manatees that are also rehabilitating in Columbus.

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