Lost Manatee Happily Released Back Into the Wild

The Atlantis Paradise Resort is much more than paradise for the rich and famous. The Bahamas resort also helped out a manatee who was found malnourished in September.

The wild manatee, affectionately named Manny-T, was found in late September in Spanish Wells. The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organization and The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources needed Atlantis' help, since it is the only resort with an animal rescue and care facility. They also happen to have marine mammal specialists and doctors who knew exactly what Manny-T needed, reports PEOPLE.

It took three months to nurse Manny-T back to health. He was only 365 lbs. However, the average adult manatee is supposed to weigh 650 lbs., notes Travel And Leisure. Manny-T was fed 144 heads of romaine lettuce, 24 heads of kale and four bags of spinach per day, according to Blue Project Foundation Atlantis.

Manny-T is between eight and 10 years old. Staff from the University of Florida and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission also helped the Atlantis team and Bahamas officials.

The Florida scientists believe Manny-T came from Tampa, Florida, based on a unique scar patter, according to PEOPLE. They believe Manny-T was migrating from Florida, but wind and sea changes during Hurricane Irma sent him off course.

The Atlantis team let Manny-T back into the seas on Jan. 9. However, he later returned to Spanish Wells, where other manatees live. Thankfully, he was perfectly healthy this time. The teams are also tracking Manny-T's travels via GPS.

Manny-T was not the only manatee thrown off course by Hurricane Irma last fall. In December, the Orlando Sentinel reported that an orphaned baby manatee was rescued in Fort Myers, Florida and is now being treated at SeaWorld Orlando.

The manatee was named Jose and has gained almost 40 pounds since he was saved. He is now about six months old and was one of 52 manatees SeaWorld helped in 2017.

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SeaWorld's animal rescue operation has 14 staffers and cost $10 million in 2016, CEO Joel Manby said in May 2017. Since 1974, the park has saved 597 manatees.

Photo credit: Blue Project Foundation Atlantis