Trio of Florida Manatees Get Released Back to Florida Waters After Months of Rehabilitation and Care at ZooTampa


For more information: ZooTampa Communications Department

Sandra Torres, director of communications

Office: 813-933-8004 or

TAMPA, FL. (December 17, 2019) — After more than a year of rehabilitation and care, three of ZooTampa’s manatee patients were released back to Florida waters yesterday. The trio, Sriracho, Obsidian and Slate, are now healthy calves weighing a combined total of more than 1800 pounds. In preparation for their release, the animal team provided the manatees with a natural diet and worked on their socialization to ensure a smooth transition to the wild. Releasing manatees in the winter helps set them up for better success as they can follow older manatees and learn how to migrate.

ZooTampa is a leader in wildlife conservation in Florida and throughout the world. As one of only four manatee critical care and rehabilitation centers in the United States, ZooTampa has cared for more than 400 injured, sick and orphaned manatees. A dedicated team of animal care and veterinary staff tend to the manatees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Our state-of-the-art David A Straz Jr Manatee Critical Care Center is currently home to 18 patients brought in for rehabilitation and care following boat strikes, cold stress, and red tide injuries.

Details about the 3 manatees:

  • Sriracho was rescued by FWC on September 2018 with his mom Heinz who suffered a boat strike injury. Heinz is still under ZooTampa care.
  • Obsidian and Slate were orphaned calves that were rescued together by FWC on February 2018 due to cold weather stress. The team had been monitoring their growth to ensure they reached the appropriate weight to be released.

About ZooTampa at Lowry Park

ZooTampa at Lowry Park is operated by the Lowry Park Zoological Society, an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to excellence in conservation, education, recreation and research. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is featured among the “Top 25 Zoos in the U.S” by TripAdvisor (2015). The Zoo is located at 1101 W. Sligh Avenue in Tampa, and is open seven days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with extended hours for select events. Parking is free. For more, visit Also, find the Zoo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.