By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's 9-year-old manatee named Douglas will return to his native Florida on Nov. 1 to get ready for release into waters off the Florida Keys.
At Cincinnati Zoo's Manatee Springs exhibit Wednesday, Douglas steals the show from Thane Maynard, vice president of public information.|
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
Orphaned as a calf and rescued in 1995, Douglas has spent the past four years as one of the two main attractions in the Cincinnati Zoo's Manatee Springs Exhibit. His partner, Stoneman, will remain at the zoo and eventually be joined by another manatee sent from the Columbus Zoo.
Terri Roth, vice president of animal sciences at the Cincinnati zoo, said the 900-pound sea cow will be flown to the Miami Seaquarium, where he can get used to eating sea grasses instead of lettuce. He also needs to get used to changes in water temperature and salinity he will encounter in the wild.
Stoneman and Douglas are currently held in a 120,000-gallon fresh-water tank at the zoo. It will take three or four months to prepare Douglas for release.
Douglas also will be equipped with a radio transmitter that will send signals every time he breaks the water. That way, scientists can track his movements from afar. Manatees are slow-moving mammals.
Douglas will be captured and given physicals three times in the first year. Roth said that if he is healthy after the initial year, the release will be considered a success.
"Our main concern is a successful reintroduction for Douglas," Roth said. "If at any time Douglas' adaptability into the wild is in question, he will be returned to a facility for further rehabilitation."
Both of the zoo's manatees came to Cincinnati through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife program that allows manatees to be moved to zoos in Columbus, San Diego and Cincinnati for continued rehabilitation. The ultimate goal for every manatee - listed as an endangered animal - is return to the wild. There are an estimated 3,000 Florida manatees.
UC campus awakens
Concealed-carry ban upheld
Debate over concealed-carry likely will continue to rage
Expedition back in Ky.
Lewis and Clark trivia challenge
Noise makes neighbors speak up
Sound-dampening walls quietly doing their jobs
IN THE TRISTATE
Portune adapts to life on wheels
Before heading home, zoo's manatee learning to be free
N. College Hill defies odds
Pulfer: We all benefit: The Bengals are starting to get it
Howard: Good Things Happening
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Ex-boyfriend arrested in shotgun double slaying
Decision awaited on blame in crash
Decision revives Butler political scandal
Fairfield Twp. trustees approve retail project
Police open house to show off renovations
Fox defiant as he opens campaign to keep seat
Monroe lops 3 positions in budget emergency
Community gathering places in works
Stricter zoning guides urged
Prison warden had respect for people
Winifred Motch, 79, backed Junior League
Video slots urged again
Couple sentenced in faked cancer case
Hoosiers might bet in L'ville shadow
Father in sex video case makes bail
High-tech center debuts
NKU professor, Fox News reach settlement
Ky. gets an 'F' in history teaching
N.Ky. repairs focus on side roads
Smoking ban opponents seek emergency order
Covington gets ideas on west riverfront
Kentucky News Briefs