The pregnant creature was held up in the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where experts allowed it to rehabilitate.
Once officials found out that Washburn, named for the island it was rescued near, was four to five months pregnant, they felt a sense of urgency to transport the manatee to another facility closer to its native waters.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Nicole Groll said the crew is very pleased to help in the mission to ultimately release Washburn back into the wild.
According to Stranding Coordinator for Mystic Janelle Sbhuh, the manatee will be gingerly lifted by crane, onto a stretcher, then laid into a “dry” container padded with foam.
A team will continually wet the animal’s skin so as to prevent it from drying out.
From the aircraft’s landing point, Washburn will be transported via trailer to the Sea World aquarium.
The whole process will likely take seven to eight hours, Sbhuh said.
She will be released as soon as marine scientists and animal rehabilitators believe she is ready.