A baby manatee named Scampi got a new home Thursday.
Miami Seaquarium's wildlife keeper team transferred her in a truck and slid her into the exhibit pool where she joined two other little ones and two adult manatees.
“She was rescued back in November of 2019 and unfortunately she was rescued with her mother and her mother ended up passing away from some boat injuries,” said animal care supervisor Julie Heyde.
Seaquarium workers estimate Scampi is five months old and are pleased to report she has been eating solid foods like lettuce for months, which was one of the signs she was ready to be transferred.
In the exhibit pool she will likely take to one of the adult female manatees, Juliet, who Heyde says has a track record of caring for calves.
“Juliet has been at Miami Seaquarium since 1958. She’s the oldest female manatee that lives under human care right now and she had proven to be an excellent surrogate mother to many different orphans that have come into the park," she added.
Manatees are considered a threatened species by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Heyed says though manatee deaths are on the decline, manatee injuries this year have increased.
Once Scampi weighs over 600 pounds, she will become a candidate to be released back into the wild. Wildlife keepers say that will probably take another two years.