Zoo releasing manatees to the wild - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Zoo releasing manatees to the wild

Posted by Trina Edwards - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is releasing its two Florida manatees, Slip and Lil' Joe, back into the wild.

The pair is scheduled to leave the zoo on Oct. 17.

The Zoo's manatee exhibit will be on hold for the next five months when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department will select more manatees to return to the Cincinnati Zoo next spring. During the five-month hiatus, the Zoo will upgrade the manatee tank and the mechanical systems at Manatee Springs.

Slip and Lil Joe will travel to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in Florida, where they will go several months of pre-release conditioning at the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital. The exact release dates will be determined once the manatees reach their ideal weight and have been given a clean bill of health.

Slip, a 17-year-old, 1,400 pound male manatee, is scheduled to be released first late this winter or early spring in Blue Springs State Park, near where he was born at Sea World Orlando.

Lil Joe, a 1,950 pound male manatee, will eventually be released following is evaluation after the pre-release conditioning. He was an orphan rescue from the Halifax River in 1989 near Daytona Beach.

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