Pictures: Manatee wounded by fish hook released back to wild

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 06, 2016, 2:24 PM EDT

After a lengthy, eight-month rehabilitation, a wounded manatee is back home in the waters of the Indian River Lagoon.

  • Wounded manatee released into Indian River Lagoon
  • Manatee had been injured by fish hook in esophagus
  • 'Ninja Bob' took 8 months to rehabilitate

"Ninja Bob," a 3-year-old sea cow, was released in front of a large crowd at the Eau Gallie Yacht Club on Tuesday morning.

He was found along the banks in January, suffering from breathing trouble.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials brought him to SeaWorld Orlando and found a large fishing hook lodged in his esophagus.

Veterinarians were able to use a scope to get the hook out, and eight months of rehabilitation later, Ninja Bob gained weight and strength enough to return home.

"The last few months we were monitoring him, he was eating on his own. He started gaining weight, and all his blood work looked good," SeaWorld Orlando's Pedro Ramos said.

Ninja-Bob now weighs about 500 pounds.

"It's so beautiful to get them back into their habitat," said Andrea Hogan, who witnessed the manatee's release.