I just learned that the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital located at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida released its 202nd manatee! What a milestone…Congratulations! The hospital’s focus is on critical care for injured, sick and orphaned manatees. And here’s something that’s really cool …
It is the only non-profit acute care unit on the planet that’s dedicated to manatee rehabilitation! In addition, it is just one of three federally permitted manatee rehabilitation facilities in Florida. The Zoo’s Manatee and Aquatic Center contains …
- Two pools where people can view manatees, containing 200,000 gallons of water.
- Three 16,500-gallon pools with remote controlled floors that treat manatees.
- Manatee life support equipment.
- A 100-seat amphitheater that is used for manatee education.
- A public viewing area that is located on its Florida boardwalk.
PinellasIce, is the name of my manatee buddy, was the Lowry Park Zoo’s 202nd manatee released into the wild. Jamie Vaccaro, an animal care taker at the zoo said, “It’s a great day.” Jamie explained that PinellasIce has been recovering over the last year from her injuries related to cold stress. “They can have pneumonia so a lot of times we do antibiotics, but the most important thing we want to also do is get them into warmer water,” Jamie said.
Florida Manatees (that’s me :)) are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. We’re currently listed as “endangered” and are at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and death. Our exposure to cold stress, red tide, and other diseases are the natural challenges we face each day. The man-made issues facing us are; boat strikes, flood gates (or locks) and also getting caught and tangled up in fishing gear.
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here is a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee