Pregnant manatee headed back to Florida from Massachusetts

Washburn will be chipped so she can be tracked in the future

(Credit: CNN/WJAR)
(Credit: CNN/WJAR)

(CNN) – Her name is Washburn, in honor of the island just off the coast of Falmouth, where she was discovered on September 22nd.

The 800-pound mammal was rescued by the International Fund for Animal Welfare because water below 68 degrees can be dangerous for manatees. She was brought to the Mystic aquarium, where Washburn has been living the good life.

Janelle from the Mystic Aquarium said, “She’s been getting about 130-140 pounds of lettuce a day.”

Even though the waters and the staff at mystic have been warm to Washburn and her unborn calf, the plan has always been to return the two to Florida.

So, on Tuesday, after weeks of preparation, Washburn was hoisted onto a crane, loaded into a truck, and brought to the Groton airport for her first-class flight back home.

Janelle noted, “This is considered a dry transport, so she’s not going to be submerged in water, but the staff that are going to be on the plane with her are going to be keeping her skin moist by spraying her down.”

Washburn’s first stop will be SeaWorld in Orlando, where her medical treatment will continue. If all goes well, the plan is to release her into open water, so she can give birth there.

Aquatic Veterinarian Dr. Lara Croft said, “We’re seeing that the baby’s growing and it’s got a nice steady heartrate, everything looks really good. It was active this morning. And uh, so we’re very optimistic.”

Once she gets re-settled into the sunshine state, Washburn will be chipped so she can be tracked in the future.

While her friends in southern New England are sad to see her go, they’re grateful for the time they got to spend with this out-of-towner, and are happy Washburn and her baby are leaving healthy.

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