Photo Courtesy of Brittney Hendricks
I just received a new seamail stating that the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens broke ground for a new Manatee Rehabilitation Center! This is great news because the new facility will be the first of its kind in northeast Florida that completely focuses on the critical care and rehabilitation of injured manatees!
Currently, the two biggest players for manatee rehabilitation in Florida are Sea World located in Orlando and the Lowry Park Zoo located in Tampa. Now that the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is adding a manatee rehab center, this will dramatically help reduce transportation time and increase the chances for survival of critically sick manatees.
Craig Miller, Jacksonville Zoo’s curator of mammals explains, this zoo already “contributes a significant amount of time to manatee conservation, but opening a critical care facility will have the greatest impact by far.”
It was back in 2006 that the Jacksonville Zoo opened a marine mammal response team. Today, the team has grown to 40 people from various divisions at the zoo. This team works with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission when they request additional help during rescues of manatees, dolphins and whales in the area.
Dan Maloney, Deputy Director of Conservation and Education at the Jacksonville Zoo said, “If you have an animal that’s already compromised, pulled out of the water, asked to sit in a truck, a truck that’s going to be sitting in traffic, and you have to get that animal to a place where, at best, it’s going to be three hours until it’s back in the water — that’s rough.” The new rehab center is expected to cost around $1.5 million and will be part of the zoo’s capital improvements.
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’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee