I just got word one of my manatee buddies was rescued on Bokeelia Beach! Ms. Denise Boyd of the Florida Fish and Wildlife explained that she thought the manatee might be suffering from red tide. Denise said, “It’s showing all the signs that it’s being affected by the toxin in red tide.” Boyd also said that just because you “can’t see red tide, doesn’t mean the algae isn’t in the water or attached to the seagrass manatees eat.”
Unfortunately, once a manatee eats the algae, they can experience paralysis and/or seizures. Bokeekia Boy, the name given to the manatee, is in “good condition.” He was taken to the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
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: 1-888-404-3922. 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