SeaWorld officials say members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team traveled to Charleston, S.C. this past week, where in collaboration with multiple organizations and volunteers they helped save 10 wayward manatees.
The manatees were spotted in the upper reaches of the Cooper River, near a warm water outflow area.
Historically, manatees move south into warmer waters when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.
Due to rapidly dropping water temperatures in the river, the manatees remained close to the warm water outflow instead of continuing to travel south.
SeaWorld officials say this isolated the manatees from adequate food sources and naturally warm waters.
Federal and other authorities reportedly decided that rescues and relocation of the animals by SeaWorld Orlando's manatee rescue team were warranted because of the situation.
According to SeaWorld, the rescue operation took place over three days.
From November 28-30, the inter-agency rescue team captured 10 manatees from the Cooper River including eight males and two females.
Once captured, each manatee received an immediate health assessment by a veterinary medical team comprised of veterinarians from SeaWorld, Jacksonville Zoo and the University of Florida.
Manatees were transported south and accompanied on their journey by veterinary and animal care staff. Once in Florida, additional health assessments were conducted at the Jacksonville Zoo by vets from the Zoo and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.
Florida wildlife staff served as the lead on transports in Florida to the release site in Brevard County.
Nine manatees were deemed releasable, according to veterinarians.
One female was exhibiting mild cold stress and is being cared for by veterinarians and staff at the Jacksonville Zoo with support from SeaWorld and the Lowry Park Zoo.