MYSTIC, Conn., Sept. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today during a routine medical exam Mystic Aquarium staff discovered that the wayward manatee dubbed "Washburn" is pregnant. The 800 pound female was rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) last Thursday in Falmouth, MA just before the water temperatures dropped to an uninhabitable 67 degrees Fahrenheit.
"An ultrasound conducted by our veterinary team determined that the manatee is between four and five months pregnant," added Dr. Stephen M. Coan, President & CEO of Mystic Aquarium. "This further elevates the importance of this effort and the care she is receiving by our world-class team of professionals. For all of us it provides a boost to the conservation efforts of this incredible but endangered species."
"We were really fortunate to find the manatee and rescue her before the water temperatures dropped," said Katie Moore IFAW's Animal Rescue Program Director. "Knowing that she is carrying a calf makes her survival even more important."
The gestation period for a manatee is approximately one year. The pregnant manatee will continue to be monitored to assess when she will be stable enough for transport to longer term rehabilitation in Florida before ultimately being released back to coastal waters.
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook/IFAW and Twitter @action4ifaw
About Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program
Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program supports animals in need and educates the public about the marine environment and its inhabitants. The public is encouraged to call the aquarium's 24-hour hotline at 860.572.5955 ext. 107 if they encounter a marine mammal or sea turtle in Conn., R.I. or Fishers Island, N.Y. Mystic Aquarium is a founding member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network. This network is comprised of organizations along the eastern sea coast which have facilities and trained staff to care for sick and injured animals. Marine Mammals are protected species, so only groups and facilities authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service are permitted to handle these animals.
About Mystic Aquarium
A nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, Mystic Aquarium is counted among the nation's leading aquariums with more than 300 species and an extensive collection of marine mammals, including New England's only belugas. Mystic Aquarium has been a pioneer in offering guests a variety of up close encounters with a wide range of marine animals. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect our ocean environment through conservation, education and research. Mystic Aquarium receives major support from The Coca-Cola Company, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Resorts World Sentosa, and United Technologies Corporation. Learn more at MysticAquarium.org.
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SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare