Last August, a boat struck a manatee in the waters off Key Colony Beach in Monroe County, leaving it with grave injuries to its tail.
Fast-forward eight months, and now the manatee named Key3PO was released back into the same waters after being treated as part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership, a consortium of nonprofit, private, state and federal entitities.
On Monday, the manatee — which lost part of its paddle — was taken from its temporary home at the Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key and sent on its way to freedom.
On Aug. 10, 2016, the manatee was rescued by Dolphin Research Center staff and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission from Key Colony Beach.
In the days following the rescue, 90 percent of the skin on its tail had shed.
The manatee is now tagged and will be monitored at www.wildtracks.org.