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Rescued manatee gives birth

The birth of the male calf is only the second at the Lowry Park Zoo’s manatee hospital.

Lowry Park Zoo

The birth of the male calf is only the second at the Lowry Park Zoo’s manatee hospital.

An injured manatee rescued a week ago by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute gave birth to a healthy, 76-pound male calf Monday at Lowry Park Zoo's manatee hospital.

The 1270-pound mother was found floating close to the surface of the St. John's River on May 13.

"She has a very visible gash along her body from being hit by the hull of a boat, but her internal injuries are the real issue," said Rachel Nelson, a spokeswoman for the zoo.

Nelson said the mother has a collapsed lung that is releasing air into her chest cavity, causing her to float on her side and making nursing awkward.

Because the first weeks of life are so important for mother and calf bonding, Nelson said doctors are holding off on treating the mother's injury until the calf is older.

If they both survive while she recovers, they may be candidates for release.

"At this point it's just too early to say what will happen in the future," Nelson said.

Rescued manatee gives birth 05/21/09 [Last modified: Thursday, May 21, 2009 12:02am]
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