Perhaps you thought only human beings were evacuated from the Florida Keys to be spared Hurricane Irma? Not so.
SeaWorld said Friday evening that five Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins aged 13 to 43 that the Dolphin Connection marine-life conservation program in Duck Key relocated to the Orlando facility before the storm “continue to thrive.”
And those were just the first Irma-related refugees to be cared for by the SeaWorld rescue team.
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission workers delivered a dehydrated, 66-pound manatee calf to the Orlando facility on Friday, after it was found a day earlier presumably orphaned or abandoned near Fort Myers in southwest Florida.
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So a SeaWorld animal care specialist began giving the calf a bottle of the facility’s own version of baby formula — a nutritional liquid “that replicates mother’s milk” — every three hours, in a process that will last several months.
SeaWorld also provided sanctuary to some birds believed blown ashore by the storm, including an Audubon’s shearwater and a juvenile brown pelican.