Manatee and turtle released into ocean in Vero Beach after rehab

MIAMI (WSVN) - A manatee and a sea turtle have been released back into the ocean after being rehabilitated in South Florida.

Rescuers released Frappuccino the manatee and Taz the sea turtle into the ocean in the Vero Beach area, Thursday, after they received treatment at Miami Seaquarium for injuries they suffered in the wild.

The manatee was found in Fort Pierce. Medical teams performed several chest tube procedures to allow one of his torn lungs to heal.

Thanks to the medical teams, the manatee is back to being a pro swimmer, weighing in at a healthy 1,000 pounds.

“The manatee is Frappuccino. He was brought in at the beginning of January of this year,” said Jessica Schiffhauer from the Miami Seaquarium. “He was a boat strike, and he was floating when he was brought in.”

Crews used a crane to lift Frappuccino from a pool and into a truck for the three-hour trip north with his travel buddy Taz.

“Taz, one of our green sea turtles, is ready for release also,” said Schiffhauer, “and she is going to be released just south of where Frappuccino is released.”

Taz is no stranger to the Miami Seaquarium’s rehabilitation center.

“This is Taz’s third time in rehab,” said Schiffhauer. “The first two times, she was just very lethargic, so they got her some antibiotics. This time, though, it does look like she was hit by a boat. She has some distinct markings on the back of her shell.”

After undergoing treatment for displaced bones, parasites and liver problems, the facility is hoping this is their final farewell to the the sea turtle.

“Yes, wish us luck. Third time’s a charm,” said Schiffhauer.

Officials said the manatee and sea turtle will be released about five minutes apart from each other in the ocean.

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