RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A rehabilitated manatee is now swimming free in the Intracoastal Waterway after being released Thursday by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The manatee named Aiya was rescued as a young calf, beached and malnourished on an island in Fort Pierce in February 2021.
Aiya has been recovering at SeaWorld for the last year.
Rehabilitated manatee just released into Manatee Lagoon!— Danielle Seat (@DanielleSeat) January 27, 2022
The manatee was found last year on an island in Fort Pierce. She was nursed back to health at SeaWorld, and today she was released happy and healthy at more than 600 lbs! @WPTV @FOX29WFLX pic.twitter.com/2MhAvjbDhC
The gentle giant is now happy and healthy, swimming around Manatee Lagoon in Riviera Beach.
Researchers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission expect her to live a long life.
"The is the best outcome that we hope for every time that we rescue a manatee," said FWC Marine Biologist Amber Howell. "Being able to release it and being able to track its movements and observe her being healthy in the wild like a normal manatee is a great day."
If you ever see a manatee in need of help, call the Fish and Wildlife alert number at 1-888-404-3922.