POWELL, Ohio — Two manatees from ZooTampa in Florida have been moved to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to continue their rehabilitation.
Officials say the animals arrived at the zoo on Saturday evening.
The animals' move helps to relieve space concerns at ZooTampa, which runs one of only four critical care facilities for manatees in the state of Florida.
The two manatees, named Einstein and Acorn, were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission last fall.
Einstein went to ZooTampa in August of 2020 from the Steinhatchee River with his mom, who died from injuries.
Acorn arrived at ZooTampa in November of 2020 from the Crystal River. According to the Columbus Zoo, Acorn was found emaciated and floating off a dock.
Acorn and Einstein are the 34th and 35th manatees to go to the Columbus Zoo for rehabilitation since the Zoo became part of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in 1999. As part of the MRP, the zoo serves as a rehabilitation facility, providing a temporary home for manatees until they are ready to be released back into the wild.
“The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is very proud to collaborate with our colleagues at ZooTampa and other partners through the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership program to help make a difference for Acorn, Einstein and other manatees who are facing serious challenges in their native ranges,” said Becky Ellsworth, curator of the Columbus Zoo’s Shores and Aquarium region.
Ellsworth added, "As the manatees continue their rehabilitation journeys and receive expert care at our facilities, guests also have the opportunity to learn more about the important actions we can all take to help protect manatees and their ocean homes. Finding conservation solutions is a collective effort, and our work continues to be driven by the inspiration we find in connecting people to wildlife so that they join us in being a part of protecting these species’ future.”