First lady DeSantis, daughter assist in rescued manatee release

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First lady DeSantis, daughter assist in rescued manatee release

Florida’s first lady Casey DeSantis and Mamie DeSantis joined the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and SeaWorld at Three Sisters Springs on Thursday for the release of a rescued manatee back into the wild.


Toast was rescued at Kings Bay near Three Sisters Springs in January after suffering from a natural buoyancy problem.

The manatee was taken to SeaWorld Orlando’s rescue and rehabilitation facility.

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On Thursday, Casey DeSantis was on hand as FWC and SeaWorld conducted a final medical check of Toast before releasing him back into the water.

“It was a joy to be a part of this release and to see a rehabilitated manatee be returned to his home, happy and healthy,” said DeSantis. “I am proud of the work that FWC and their partners, like SeaWorld, do to help these animals when they are in need. The Governor is committed to providing the resources necessary for these gentle sea giants to thrive in Florida’s waterways, and I am happy to see that Florida’s investments are paying off for the manatee population.”

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Florida manatees face many threats including watercraft strikes, cold stress, red tide, entanglement, entrapment, and habitat loss, according to a news release.

Over the past few years, Gov. DeSantis and the Sunshine State has taken on a concerted effort to rescue, rehabilitate, and release manatees as well as investment in conserving their natural environment.

First lady DeSantis, daughter assist in rescued manatee release
First lady DeSantis, daughter assist in rescued manatee release

“We were delighted to have First Lady Casey DeSantis join us in releasing a rehabilitated manatee back into the wild,” said FWC executive director Roger Young. “Governor DeSantis’ bold leadership in funding manatee protection, habitat restoration, and rehabilitation ensures their sustainability for years to come.”

The Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership works as a cooperative of agencies, organizations, and private sector partners, to rescue, rehabilitate, and release manatees.

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The release stated that “Since 2019, Governor DeSantis has funded nearly $70 million for manatee protection, expanding and enhancing manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts, and providing habitat restoration for areas where manatees are highly concentrated. Additionally, Florida has invested $380 million to restore Florida’s world-renowned springs which serve as an important manatee habitat when the animals seek warmer waters in the wintertime. As a result, in 2023, Florida manatees had the lowest mortality rate since 2017. And, in January of this year, Blue Spring State Park saw a record 932 manatees seeking warm waters in their spring, beating their previous record on New Year’s Day of 736 manatees.”

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