The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is now home to Lizzo and Cardi-Tee, two manatee calves that are on a path to rehabilitation.
According to a press release, the orphaned mammals—named after Grammy winners Lizzo and Cardi B—are among four manatees who arrived at the zoo over the weekend. The two other calves were named after celebrity sisters MaryKate and Ashley, and were also transported from SeaWorld’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Orlando. DHL assisted with the transportation by generously donating its resources.
“This transport was necessary, given the record number of intakes occurring, to make additional room for rescued manatees in need of emergency critical care at SeaWorld’s Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, which is one of only five manatee critical care facilities in the United States,” SeaWorld said in a statement. “As a second stage rehabilitation facility, the Columbus Zoo is one of only two facilities outside of Florida to care for manatees.”
According to the theme park chain, the manatees will remain at the Columbus Zoo until they are strong enough to return to the wild. The calves joined five other manatees—Acorn, Einstein, Squirrel, Scampi, and Stubby—at the Columbus Zoo, marking the highest number of manatees ever housed at the facility. All the animals, with the exception of Stubby, are expected to return to the Florida waters once they’ve grown enough. Stubby is expected to remain at the zoo for the rest of her life due to extensive injuries sustained in a boat crash.
“We are incredibly proud that—even from our location in the Midwest—the Columbus Zoo is working with dedicated partners to take an active role in helping these amazing animals in crisis. It is truly devastating to see what is happening to manatees,” said Becky Ellsworth, curator of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s Shores & Aquarium region. “The generosity of DHL Express, the commitment and collaboration of our Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership partners like SeaWorld, and the support of our community offers wonderful reminders of the positive impact our efforts can make for manatees. Every individual manatee is important to the species’ future … We recognize that there’s still a lot of work that still needs to be done to help, and even during these catastrophic events, our resolve is strengthened to continue making a difference.”