LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A mother manatee and her son are back home after zoologists removed the pair from SW Florida following a near-fatal boating accident.
The 1 year old, Hatchling, and his mother, Hatchet were returned to Matlacha Park Tuesday after spending the past 8 months at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo.
Hatchet was rescued in January, 2010 after suffering from a severe boating injury - Hatchling was taken along since he was too young to survive alone.
"Her ribs had been broken, which punctured her lung which caused the air from her lung to get into her body cavities so when she came in she was on her side," said Tanya Ward with the Lowry Park Zoo.
It took 15 zoologists and firefighters to move the animals from a moving van back to the water.
Hatchling weighed in at 500 pounds, while his mother tipped the scales at 900 pounds.
Experts say manatees normally break away from eachother around 2 years old, but, according to zoologists that timeframe could be different with these two.
"They are very bonded, he is a momma's boy all the way to the end when we released him he is a momma's boy so yes it was very tough," said Ward.