The Bahamas Marine Mammal Research Organisation (BMMRO) has stood by their mission ‘to promote conservation of marine mammals and their habitats through scientific research and educational outreach,’ in their role in the return of Rita and Georgie back to the wild. Immediately following the capture BMMRO advised the Department of Marine Resources and Atlantis of the urgency in releasing the manatees as soon as possible.
BMMRO collaborated with manatee researcher Jim Reid at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), to draft a release plan which recommended release in Bullock’s Harbour, Great Harbour Cay, where a small group of manatees currently reside.
In preparation for Rita and Georgie’s release, BMMRO has conducted research at Great Harbour Cay to learn more about the manatees that have been residing there for the past 13 years. Equally important, BMMRO’s education officer Kendria Ferguson commenced educational outreach to the local community, visiting the school to give seminars, and increasing awareness about manatee presence for boaters.
On Thursday April 19th 2012, animal rescue staff at Dolphin Cay safely transported Rita and Georgie to Bullock’s Harbour and at 11:00am they were released. They immediately joined two other manatees and spent the remainder of the day socialising with them.
For more information on the release efforts visit: http://fl.biology.usgs.gov/Manatees/bahamas_manatee_release.html