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Miami aquarium manatees Romeo and Juliet arrive at ZooTampa for care

Still Waters

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Two Florida manatees whose living conditions at a Miami aquarium sparked online outrage have been escorted across the state by a caravan of wildlife officials to their new home at ZooTampa.

Since the late 1950s, the pair of Florida manatees have lived at Miami Seaquarium on Virginia Key. The animals, dubbed with the Shakespearean monikers of Romeo and Juliet, have been residents there for so long they predate laws created in the 1970s to help protect them.

But in recent years, living conditions at Miami Seaquarium, once home to the oldest orca in captivity, have come under fire. A U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection from July pointed to manatee isolation and a lack of shade, among other observations of mishandling animals in the aquarium's care.


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