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Manatee Mother and Calf Released Back into the Gulf

Homecoming: Manatee mom and calf return to Bay
Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-11 15:08:09-04

SARASOTA COUNTY, FL (WWSB) -- A manatee mother and her calf are back home in Sarasota Bay.

"Cola" and "Fizz" were released at the Ken Thompson Park boat ramp on Thursday morning in front of more than one hundred spectators.

"I've always seen this on the news and I wanted to see this in person. It was wonderful," said Brenda Zook of Sarasota.

As we told you last month, the male calf (Fizz) was rescued in a canal on Lido Key. A homeowner noticed the calf was injured and called wildlife officials for help. Volunteers with Mote Marine responded to the scene and captured the calf. Due to its young age, they needed to net the mother as well.

The calf was treated at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa with his mom by his side. Veterinarians say the calf suffered lacerations on its back from either mangroves or barnacles.

"We are happy that we didn't have to hand raise him. The mom did most of the work. The worst case scenario just wasn't there," said Molly Lippincott, with the Lowry Park Zoo.

Spectators who witnessed the release say they were impressed by all of the hard work from volunteers.

"To see those two be able to go back to nature where they should be, and still be able to be together, healthy, and to to be able to watch them swim away because of all of this work and effort, is truly an emotional moment," said David Wilson of Bradenton.

If you ever notice a sick, injured or dead manatee, you are asked to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife hotline: 1-888-404-FWCC