A young manatee dubbed Rebellion by his rescuers lived up to his name when he tried to sneak back to the Key Largo boat ramp on which he was released Thursday after six months at the Miami Seaquarium, where he was recovering from injuries inflicted by a boat strike in April.
Seaquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff carefully released the sea mammal into a mangrove-lined canal behind the Calusa Campground in Key Largo. Using a blue tarp, Rebellion was gently lifted and lowered into the water until he swam off into the murky Florida Bay.
Within seconds several circles of mud rose to the surface of the water — the telltale sign other manatees were in the water. It was looking like Rebellion made new friends. But like a preschooler leaving his parents on the first day of class, he quickly reappeared on the boat ramp, as if saying, “That was fun. Now take me back to the aquarium.”
But he soon realized he was home. Back where he belongs.
His release into Florida Bay marked the first manatee release in Key Largo post Hurricane Irma, the Seaquarium said.