Rescued baby manatee chases tasty banana around enclosure

Published March 28, 2021 5,468 Views

This adorable baby manatee was found beached when he was just a little baby and had to be rescued and cared for at a marine mammal rehabilitation center, and hopefully, will be released back into the ocean once he is old enough.

He is still very young, so he is just starting to eat his solids. He gets bottle-fed five times a day, with a special formula prepared specifically to meet all his nutritional needs. Animals in captivity need to be fed a balanced diet, to ensure they receive all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, so now he is also given a banana a day, along with a bit of seaweed, grass and other vegetables. As he grows, he'll start eating more solids and drinking less formula, until he is ready to be weaned, around 3 years old. He still hasn't quite gotten the hang of eating the banana yet, and struggles a bit to catch it, which is absolutely adorable!

The West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) is the largest species of Sirenians alive. The Sirenia order also includes the Amazonian Manatee (Trichechus inunguis) and the African Manatee (Trichechus senegalensis).

The West Indian Manatee is currently divided into two subspecies, the Florida Manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) and the Antillean Manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus), although recent data indicates three separate lineages: one in Florida and the Greater Antilles; another in Western and Southern Gulf of Mexico, Central America, and Northwestern South America, West of the Lesser Antilles; and the third one on Northeastern South America, East of the Lesser Antilles. Evidence indicates that there might be hybridization with the Amazonian Manatee, in some areas near the mouth of the Amazon.

In 2017 the West Indian Manatee’s status has been downgraded from endangered to threatened, but it's essential to have stronger emphasis on preserving and restoring warm water habitats, and increase the reports of manatee boat strikes, in order to sustain this progress.

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