NORTH PALM BEACH, Fla. - Meet Holly and Pig-pen. Two manatees rescued at two different places, but sharing a common experience.
Pig-pen is about the size Holly was when she rescued 16 years ago (240 lbs) from the St. Lucie power plant.
Since then, Holly has seen the country.
Steve Lehr from Sea World Orlando says, "She actually made a few travels, she went to one of our corporate parks in Homosassa Springs, also up to the Columbus Zoo in Ohio, and recently back in '09 she came back to Florida with the hopes of being released."
On her extended vacation, she gained a little weight….more than 1700 pounds!!! "We rescued her in 1995 and she was 240 pounds, right now she is 1,975 pounds," Lehr said.
But she doesn't have to worry about going on a diet, that's normal for manatees.
Don't tell that to the 20 men and women who had to lift her off the truck!
It was quite the sight for onlookers, with the stars of the show coming back for an encore
Deanna Pike was there and enjoyed her experience. "We were all joking it was like a photo opportunity because they both came back up to the ramp, stuck their noses out, took pictures, turned around and went about their way, it was absolutely beautiful."
Fitted with a tracking device, scientists will be able to keep and eye on them for the next year, to make sure they are OK.
The two manatees, who never met before Wednesday, were released together for a reason
"We were hoping that she might exhibit some maternal instincts, and he might take to her as a large female and stick by her and so far that's what we've seen. We saw them nuzzling each other, they were staying right next to each other….they seem to be creating a bond right here at the boat ramp," said John Cassady, a manatee biologist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
That bond will help them conquer their new life, and new world …. together.
If you see any distressed or injured manatees, call the FWC Manatee Hotline at 888-404-3922.
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