In January of this year some Abaco residents may remember a young manatee being rescued from Cherokee. We are pleased to announce that Georgie has now been released once more to Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands after a successful rehabilitation at Atlantis’ Dolphin Cay. She was successfully released on Wednesday 14th August by the Atlantis Animal Rescue Team from the Atlantis Dolphin Cay Marine Mammal Rescue Center, with the help of the Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO).
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. Manatees in addition to all marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 2005 and only authorized facilities are able to respond to such requests from Government.
Rita, a manatee known previously from Florida, gave birth to Georgie in Spanish Wells in June 2010. In October of 2011 both Rita and Georgie appeared in the busy Nassau Harbour and at the request of the Bahamas Government, the Dolphin Cay Team rescued them and took them to a safe environment at the Atlantis Dolphin Cay Marine Mammal Rescue Center where health assessments and evaluations were conducted. With the assistance of the Bahamas Department of Marine Resources, BMMRO, the United States Geological Survey’s Sirenia Project, and Save the Manatee Club, Rita and Georgie were released in Great Harbour Cay in April of 2012, equipped with tags to monitor their movements for several months.
In June of 2012, it was observed that Rita and Georgie had separated and in September 2012, a newly weaned-Georgie made a dramatic move from the Berry Islands release site to the Marls off the west side of Abaco. BMMRO staff monitored Georgie’s movements as she travelled around the north end of Abaco then inside the barrier islands until she finally stopped in Cherokee. She remained there throughout the fall, including during hurricane Sandy but in January she was beginning to look slightly underweight. Concern was raised about her general appearance and the decision was made by the Department of Marine Resources for the Dolphin Cay team to conduct a field health assessment and relocate her to the Atlantis Marine Mammal Rescue Center.
Georgie underwent a series of general health evaluations and was fed approximately 75 pounds of lettuce each day. She gained more than 200 pounds during the course of her care and weighed 569 pounds upon her recent release. She has a satellite tag attached to her which will help post-release monitoring, currently being conducted by representatives from BMMRO and Dolphin Cay.
Thanks goes to all involved, especially Captain Ross and the owners of the vessel Valhalla, which was kindly donated for the release.
Updates on Georgie will be posted on BMMRO’s facebook page;