GROTON (CBS) – A pregnant manatee rescued from Massachusetts waters was ready for take off this morning as the U.S. Coast Guard transported her from her temporary home in the Mystic Aquarium to SeaWorld in Florida.
Washburn the manatee arrived safely in Florida on Tuesday, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, putting her one step closer to being released back into the wild.
Experts from the International Fund for Animal Welfare rescued Washburn the manatee last month after she had accidentally made her way to East Falmouth. After a rehabilitation period for the warm-water dweller at Mystic, the U.S. Coast Guard Northeast flew her from Connecticut to SeaWorld in Florida.
Experts rescued the 800-pound pregnant manatee as water temperatures dipped with the changing weather, which threatened the manatee’s welfare. Temperatures below 68 degrees are too cold for manatees, experts said.
To survive, crews hauled Washburn into a trailer and took her to Mystic, where they then discovered she was around 4 to 5 months pregnant.
Despite what was called an incredible amount of planning, Washburn’s flight went well. The Coast Guard loaded the manatee into an HC-144 aircraft at Groton-New London Airport at around 10 a.m. for her flight.