COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Florida manatees have joined the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium as their health continues to improve.
The two calves were successfully transferred Saturday from ZooTampa in Florida, where they were delivered last fall after being rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Einstein is a 470 pound orphan whose mom didn’t survive injuries caused by a boat strike in the Steinhatchee River. Columbus Zoo will help him reach 600 pounds, when he will be able to be released.
Acorn was rescued from Florida’s Crystal River where he was found emaciated and floating off of a dock. Zoo officials say he is gaining weight consistently and has gone from 315 pounds to 430 pounds.
ZooTampa operates one of only four critical care centers for manatees in Florida. The facility was close to capacity, which is why the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium stepped in.
Manatees have been adversely affected by record watercraft injuries, severe weather, and red tide, according to zoo officials.
Einstein and Acorn are the 34th and 35th manatees to arrive at the Columbus Zoo for rehab since the Zoo joined the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership in 1999.
The newbies join another convalescing manatee, Stubby, at the Zoo’s Manatee Coast habitat, where zoo officials say she often assumes the role of a surrogate mother looking after the others.