TAMPA -- The Lowry Park Zoo released an orphaned calf named Laroc on Monday morning in Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.
The calf received more than two years of care at the zoo's manatee hospital, according to a news release from the zoo. Laroc arrived in 2010 as a 63-pound newborn from the Caloosahatchee River near Cape Coral. She had been found alone and dehydrated, trying to feed on algae along a sea wall. According to the zoo, she is one of the youngest and smallest orphaned calves to be raised by the zoo's manatee rehab team, and now weighs in at more than 700 pounds.
The zoo noted that with the arrival of four sick manatees in the first month of the New Year, Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo has reached another milestone at its David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Hospital. It has taken in more than 300 manatees for critical care and rehabilitation since 1991, and of those, 174 have been re-introduced into Florida waters.