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3 orphaned manatees arrive at Cincinnati Zoo for rehabilitation

two manatees drinking from bottles
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Three orphaned manatees arrived in Cincinnati Saturday from ZooTampa.

Three orphaned manatees are now in Cincinnati after a weekend transfer from ZooTampa in Florida. "Calliope," "Piccolina" and "Soleil" arrived Saturday and are acclimating to the pool at Manatee Springs.

The newly arrived manatees spent the past year at ZooTampa receiving critical care. The Cincinnati Zoo writes in a Facebook post that the trio of females are "now well enough to begin second-stage rehab care at the Cincinnati Zoo."

According to ZooTampa, the animals were loaded into trucks early Saturday morning for transport to the Orlando airport. From there, they were flown to Cincinnati.

The manatees will stay in Cincinnati until they are ready to be released back into the wild. The three were rescued as calves by Florida Fish and Wildlife about two months apart in 2021.

The Tampa Bay Times profiled Calliope, Piccolina and Soleil being prepped for their trip to Cincinnati. You can see all their images below.

The three previous inhabitants at the Cincinnati Zoo's Manatee Springs —"SwimShady," "Alby" and "Manhattan" — departed in October to prepare for a return to the wild.

The zoo's manatee rehabilitation program has worked with 23 rescued manatees. So far, 19 have been returned to the wild, according to the zoo.

Cincinnati is one of just a few facilities outside Florida with manatee rehabilitation programs through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.