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Rescued manatee gives birth at SeaWorld

Jason Collier / SeaWorld

The manatee calf plants a big wet kiss on its momma in their new habitat.

A rescued manatee became a "momma-tee" Wednesday, July 18, when she gave birth to a healthy baby calf.

An animal rescue team from SeaWorld recovered the injured manatee from Sykes Creek in Merritt Island, Fla. six weeks ago, according to a press release. The team transported the manatee to SeaWorld Orlando, where veterinarians there suspected the mammal to be pregnant given its size and weight. An ultrasound confirmed that suspicion.

Jason Collier / SeaWorld

This baby isn't straying far away from her mother, who is gradually recovering after both her pregnancy and amputation surgery.

If the pain of pregnancy wasn’t enough, the aquarium’s medical team had to amputate the mother manatee’s front right flipper, due to the severity of her injuries. The gentle giant sustained wounds from a crab pot line and had fishing line wrapped around her front flippers.

Jason Collier / SeaWorld

SeaWorld's Animal Rescue team haul in the mother manatee out of Sykes Creek. The wound to her front flipper is visible.

Human-related interactions are a leading cause of death for manatees, according to SeaWorld. Those include watercraft-collisions, poaching, habitat-destruction and accidental entanglement in fishing lines.

Luckily, the baby and mother manatees are doing well in their new home, and are under 24-hour watch by the aquarium's crew.


Jason Collier / SeaWorld

The week-old baby manatee is seen with her mom at their new home at SeaWorld Orlando.


Brandon is a mulitmedia intern for TODAY.com and just added "get kissed by a manatee" to his bucket list.