After being found floating in the waters of North Captiva in July, "Nori" the manatee was released back into the wild along with her female calf "Cappi" at Harborside Marina inside South Seas Island Resort.
The 1,100-pound adult manatee was unable to dive due to a broken rib that had punctured her lung. She was taken to the world-renowned Miami Seaquarium where she underwent surgery for a Heimlich valve - or more commonly known as a flutter valve. As a one-way valve, it is used in respiratory medicine to prevent air from traveling back along a chest tube.
"It saved her life," said Dr. Maya, Miami Seaquarium's staff veterinarian.
Volunteers prepare to release Nori and Cappi, a manatee mother and her calf, into the water at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Wednesday afternoon.
While Cappi was found next to her mother at just 48 pounds, she was not injured. Although the young calf did not sustain damage, it is believed that her mother gave birth soon after the boat strike.
"During the last two years, more than 1,000 manatees have died," said Maya. "This makes every rescue and release effort that much more important today's pair is truly special for us."
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute's preliminary report, 67 manatee deaths have occurred this year from watercraft accidents alone. As the Miami Seaquarium staff releases these magnificent animals, it was a reminder that human negligence has poorly effected the Florida manatee.