THE Atlantis Resort’s Animal Rescue Team has announced the successful release of Georgie, an endangered West Indian Manatee, at Great Harbor Cay.
This is the second release of Georgie, who was originally released in April 2012 after the Animal Rescue Team rescued Georgie and her mother, Rita, in 2011.
Under the direction of the Department of Marine Resources, guidance from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and working closely with the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO), Georgie was released at Great Harbor Cay in the Berry Islands.
The marine mammal team at Dolphin Cay had been rehabilitating Georgie since January 2013. Dolphin Cay is home to the only live marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation centre in the Bahamas and is a member of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.
In addition to manatees, all marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 2005 and only authorised facilities are able to respond such requests from government.
Six months after Rita and Georgie’s successful release at Great Harbour Cay in 2012, Georgie began to make a dramatic move from both Rita and the Berry Islands release site to Cherokee in Abaco.
The Dolphin Cay and BMMRO teams made several trips to Abaco in order to monitor Georgie’s overall condition.
Concerned about her general appearance, the Department of Marine Resources and an Atlantis medical team decided to conduct a field health assessment.
The result was Georgie’s return to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.
Georgie underwent a series of general health evaluations and was fed approximately 75 pounds of lettuce each day. Georgie gained more than 200 pounds during the course of her care and weighed 569 pounds upon release.
She quickly adapted to her surroundings at Great Harbour Cay and joined another young manatee.
A member of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation and a member of the Atlantis Animal Rescue Team will stay on the island to track Georgie’s movements over the next two weeks.
Over the next several months, Georgie’s movements will continue to be tracked with the help of a satellite tag.