File photo of a manatee.
Photo: extrabrandt /
Photo: extrabrandt /

WATCH: SeaWorld employee bottle-feeds baby manatee in heartwarming viral video

heartwarming video of a SeaWorld employee feeding a baby manatee with a bottle has gone viral, with more than 14,000 views on Instagram.

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According to WSVN, photographer Michael George, author of the 2018 children's book "Life at the Zoo," shot the video at the Orlando, Florida, attraction. He shared the clip on social media Friday.

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In a November 2018 post, George said wildlife officials saved three manatee calves after Hurricane Irma slammed Florida in September 2017. 

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"The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission brought them to the SeaWorld Rescue Team at @seaworldorlando for rehabilitation and release," George wrote at the time.

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Baby manatees José, Dex, & Ursula were rescued in September 2017 after Hurricane Irma separated them from their parents. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission brought them to the SeaWorld Rescue Team at @seaworldorlando for rehabilitation and release. These babies require constant care, and are bottle-fed every 3 hours, 24/7. Their bottles are filled with an infant formula with plant oils, protein sources, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and sustainably harvested palm oil. The SeaWorld Rescue Team has come to the aid of 31,000 ill, injured, and orphaned animals In need over the past few decades. In addition to these babies, the team recently received a call about a small group of adult manatees in South Carolina who were caught in a sudden cold spell. They were days away from dying of frostbite and the rescue team drove back and forth for 3 days, working 24 hours, to bring the adults to their Manatee Hospital. . A few quick fun facts about these adorable seacows: 1) You might be surprised to learn that the manatee’s closest relative is the elephant. 2) They are one of the only mammals that doesn’t have eyelashes. 3) Their eyes actually close in a circle like the aperture of a camera. . Many of the zoos in Florida have extensive conservation and rescue programs due to the many endangered species in the state. Manatee hospitals have managed to stabilize the population, and as of January 7, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the West Indian manatee is proposed to be downlisted from endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. . To learn more about these programs you can pre-order my upcoming children’s book ‘Life at the Zoo’ by visiting the website in my bio! I created this book to shed light on the many misconceptions about zoos and to teach children (and adults) the role they play in breeding, conservation, and rescue programs. Also, I just love baby manatees.

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Manatees Stranded By Hurricane Irma Rescued