Wayward pregnant manatee arrives in Florida
WATCH: Pregnant manatee arrives at SeaWorld Orlando
After weeks of preparation, crews from Mystic Aquarium on Tuesday helped transport a pregnant manatee that was found off Cape Cod back to the warmer waters of Florida.
The 800-pound manatee -- dubbed “Washburn” -- was taken in by the Connecticut aquarium after it was found off Falmouth in September. Manatees typically never venture beyond Florida waters. It is unclear what prompted the creature to take a trip up north.
But Tuesday morning around 8:30, Washburn was hoisted onto a crane, loaded into a truck, and transported to the Groton Airport for her first class fight back home.
"This is considered a dry transport so she's not going to be submerged in water, but the staff that are going to be on the plane with her are going to be keeping her skin moist by spraying her down,” Janelle Schuh of Mystic Aquarium said.
Washburn's first stop will be Sea World in Orlando, where her medical treatment will continue.
But if all goes well, the plan is to release Washburn into open water so she can give birth there.
"Compared to her initial ultrasound, we're seeing that the baby's growing and it's got a nice steady heart rate,” Lara Croft of SeaWorld said. “Everything looks really good it was active this morning. so we're very optimistic."
Once she gets settled in the Sunshine State, Washburn will be chipped so she can be tracked in the future.
And while her friends in Southern New England are sad to see her go, they're grateful for the time they got to spend with her.
The cooperative effort to transport Washburn not only involved Mystic Aquarium, SeaWorld, and the US Coast Guard, but also The International Fund for Animal Welfare, as well as the Army National Guard.