Along with the alligators and Orcas, it was expected that SeaWorld have Manatees. These are one of the very few things roaming the grounds and tanks at the park that I’d have no qualms about meeting in the water. Unless it pinned you somehow, but they seem quite docile creatures.
Back in January when it was abnormally cold throughout the nation, the local power plant, FPL (FP&L?) made news by hosting many Manatees. They roam the intercoastal waterways, and congregate around the plant’s water outlets, as the water is heated.
As calming and curious as these animals are, it was bittersweet to see each of them. Seeing the Orca involved in the trainer’s death mere days after the incident evoked diverse emotions: awe at the animal’s size, curiousity at its alien anatomy, melancholy for the life lost and the uncertainty surrounding the animal’s future… you can look back for a more detailed catalog of my thoughts looking him in the eye.
Each and every Manatee at SeaWorld is there for rehabilitation purposes. Not one individual has been taken from the wild solely for display. Each animal has some degree of injury, each the result of colliding with a boat’s propellors. Like us, whales, and dolphins, Manatees are mammals and must surface to breath. Unlike whales and dolphins, they do not stray that far from the surface.
Take a look again at the above picture. It isn’t a trick of the eye. The poor guy is missing about half of his flipper.