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Manatee Rescued From the Cool Waters of Cape Cod is Pregnant

Sep 29, 2016 05:02 AM EDT

Veterinarians at Mystic Aquarium were surprised when they realized that the International Fund for Animal Welfare did not just rescue one manatee from the cool waters of Falmouth. As it turns out, the manatee is actually pregnant.

When the team of veterinarians conducted a routine exam in the rescued manatee, they discovered that the 800-pound manatee, which they named "Washburn," has a bun in the oven. Ultrasound revealed that Washburn is between four and five months pregnant.

"This further elevates the importance of this effort and the care she is receiving by our world-class team of professionals. For all of us it provides a boost to the conservation efforts of this incredible but endangered species," said Dr. Stephen M. Coan, President and CEO of Mystic Aquarium, in a report from

Washburn was rescued by the Yarmouth Port-based International Fund for Animal Welfare, local officials and volunteers in an area near Washburn Island in East Falmouth last Sept. 22.

Due to Washburn's pregnancy, officials for the IFAW felt more fortunate to rescue the marine mammal just in time before the waters in Falmouth dropped to 67 degrees. Manatees are used to warmer waters and will be unable to survive in below 68 degrees temperature.

According to the report from South Coast Today, Washburn was put into a heated pool and has been receiving about seven percent of her body weight in lettuce and spinach since she arrived at the aquarium.

Once the marine mammal is stable enough, she will be transported to longer term rehabilitation in Florida and will ultimately be brought back to the coastal waters.

Manatees' gestation period is about a year. Female manatees are usually ready to mate at the age of five and are often observed to travel in groups consisting of one to two females and about six males.

At present, there are approximately 5,000 Florida manatees. Manatees can be usually found in the warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal waters.

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