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Apparently, You Can Go Home Again

Flapjack’s frequent flyer card with the FWC rescue team has another punch in it. The almost four-year-old manatee was recently re-released into the wild yet again, following a two-month stint at SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation center.

Flapjack was originally found emaciated on October 20, 2021 in Weeki Wachee River. While his name may be whimsical, it’s a stark reminder of how starvation biologically affects manatees, causing them to appear flat like a pancake. FWC staff collaborated with ZooTampa’s David A Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center to save his life. But upon his arrival, even medical staff were concerned he wouldn’t make it. But he defied the odds and eleven months later in August 2022, Flapjack was released back into the wild.

Sadly, Flapjack found himself in trouble again in April 2024. A rescue team that included FWC, ZooTampa, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an entrapped manatee in the Clam Bayou retention system in St. Petersburg. Upon examination, the male manatee was notably thin and his microchip revealed his identity as none other than Flapjack.

Rescue and rehabilitation cases like Flapjack’s require time and resources from multiple cooperative partners. The average adult manatee eats about $200 per day in romaine lettuce in a rehabilitation facility. Our Foundation has proudly donated $35,000 each to ZooTampa and Jacksonville Zoo to feed manatees like Flapjack thanks to a $100,000 gift from Greater Good Charities (the rest went to habitat restoration projects in the Indian River Lagoon).

By becoming a recurring monthly donor of our Marine Mammal Fund, you directly support similar efforts, including the rescue of manatees like Flapjack. Click here for more information.


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