As previously reported, SeaWorld’s commitment to the health and preservation of marine mammals was in the spotlight this week, when their uniquely qualified rescue team assisted local and fish and wildlife officials with the remarkable rescue of 17 manatees from drainage pipes in Florida.
The massive “sea cows,” as manatees are often referred to, herded themselves into the pipes and, unable to turn around, could not navigate back to open waters without assistance.
Using slings that could support the weight of an adult manatee, that can reach over 1000 pounds, the team lifted the animals to safety.
Any manatees that could not be returned immediately to their natural environment, could be housed at SeaWorld’s rescue facility where they receive individual intensive care provided by veterinarians, technicians, nutritionists and other zoological support staff, totaling 1500 in all.
The knowledge and expertise that SeaWorld’s rescue team brings to the table would simply not be possible if they did not have the collective experience their dedicated zoological staff have acquired by working with the marine mammal residents and rescues located at their facilities.
Another notable animal-related event was just reported by the University of Florida.
A rare parasite was diagnosed in an orangutan who died while undergoing treatment at the University’s veterinary school. “[T]he parasite, Angiostrongylus cantonensis, known as the rat lungworm” was identified as the cause of death during the orangutan’s necropsy.
This parasite is commonly found in snails in Hawaii, and causes sickness and sometimes death in animals and humans who consume the infested snails. Concerns about the rat lungworm in Floridian snails began in 2012, when scientists and veterinarians traced another orangutan’s illness to its consumption of snails, which they later found harbored the rat lungworm.
Studies of terrestrial snails in Florida confirmed concerns that the parasite is present in Florida.
“Of five species of terrestrial snails tested, three tested positive for the rat lungworm. One species was the same as the orangutan had ingested, one is a known intermediate host and the other had never previously been identified as an intermediate host, the study states.”
Work with orangutans has lead to animal and public health warnings since “[i]n addition to the danger to humans, the rat lungworm can also affect dogs, horses and birds.”
Like the dedicated zoological staff at SeaWorld, animal health professionals’ working with exotic and zoo animals help protect all animals, including humans.