A 1,000-pound manta ray was returned to the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday after three years as a research subject and tourist attraction at a Bahamian resort.
The massive black ray, known as "Zeus," was lowered from a helicopter on a hydraulically welded frame to ensure its safe entry into the water. It spans nearly 13 feet in diameter — including a 3-foot-wide mouth.
Marine biologists had studied the creature and will now use a satellite tracking tag to monitor its movements in the open sea.
Relocating the ray from its 2.7 million-gallon aquarium took more than two hours, according to a statement issued by the Atlantis resort on Paradise Island.
Known for its water slides and pink-towered hotel, the Atlantis is the flagship resort of Kerzner International Holdings, a casino and hotel developer. The resort employs 7,800 people, making it the largest private employer in the Bahamas.