South Florida Museum releases manatee after 20 weeks of rehab

Icecube the manatee
Posted at 12:46 PM, Mar 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-16 11:01:20-04
MANATEE Co., Fla. (WWSB) -- The South Florida Museum released a rehabilitated manatee back into the wild on Monday.
The manatee, Icecube, returned after about 20 months of rehabilitation.
Icecube joined Snooty in the Museum's Manatee Care Program in July 2015, along with Sarasolo who was released in February of this year. Icecube was rescued from Charlotte Harbour on Jan. 21, 2015 suffering from cold stress.
He weighed only 205 pounds at that time. 
When he arrived at the Museum after his initial treatment in the Lowry Park Zoo's critical care hospital, he weighed 400 pounds and was 6 feet 11 inches long.
With assistance from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Sea to Shore Alliance, they released Icecube, now weighing in at 815 pounds and measured about 8 feet 7 inches long. He was released at Tampa Electric's Manatee Viewing Center at the Big Bend Power Station in Apollo Beach, an area where other manatees are congregating to keep warm. 
If manatees are exposed to prolonged cold temperatures, like Icecube was, they start to lose body heat and cannot adequately digest their food. That can lead to a condition called cold stress, which can be fatal.
"Icecube seemed to take quickly to Snooty. He frequently followed Snooty around their pool - we liked to say Snooty was his mentor," said Marilyn Margold, Director of Living Collections.
"Upon Icecube's release, he joined a group of approximately 40 manatees, so we have high hopes he will find another mentor in this group."