CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A team of people successfully released a manatee into Horton Park in Cape Coral after more than a year of rehab and care.
When the manatee, named Bellissima, first arrived at ZooTampa at Lowry Park, she only weighed 750 lbs. - more than 250 lbs. underweight. She had severe injuries on her body and flippers when a hiker found her stranded by Beautiful Island.
15 months later, after a lot of rehab and care, Bellisima weighs 1,445 lbs. and, according to the director of conservation for ZooTampa, “looks like a completely different manatee.”
Dr. Melissa Nau, Director of Animal Health, said it was inspirational to watch Bellissima’s recovery.
“Bellissima has been a true testament to the incredibly resilient nature of these amazing animals,” Dr. Nau said.
Wednesday morning, a team released Bellissima back to her home in the water.