The rehabilitation of manatees in Florida is a complex and challenging process, but it is also essential to the survival of this endangered species. Manatees are often injured or orphaned due to human-related causes, such as boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, or red tide poisoning. When these animals are rescued, they are brought to one of the five federally permitted acute care facilities in Florida for treatment.
Once the manatees are medically stabilized, they may be transferred to one of four secondary holding facilities while awaiting release. At these facilities, the manatees are given specialized care, including nutritional rehabilitation, physical therapy, and behavioral training. The goal of rehabilitation is to return the manatees to the wild as healthy and independent as possible.
The rehabilitation of manatees in Florida is a collaborative effort between the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), and a variety of other organizations. The FWC is responsible for coordinating the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees, while the MRP provides funding and support to the rehabilitation facilities. Other organizations that play a role in the rehabilitation of manatees include zoos, aquariums, and research institutions.
The rehabilitation of manatees in Florida is a success story. In recent years, the number of manatees being rescued and rehabilitated has increased, and the survival rate of these animals has also improved. This is due in part to the dedicated efforts of the FWC, the MRP, and other organizations that are working to save this endangered species.
Here are some of the challenges faced in the rehabilitation of manatees in Florida:
- Manatees are large and complex animals. They require specialized care that can be expensive and time-consuming.
- The causes of manatee injuries and deaths are often complex and difficult to prevent. This makes it challenging to reduce the number of manatees that need rehabilitation.
- Manatees are social animals. They do not do well in isolation, so they need to be rehabilitated in groups. This can be difficult to do, as there are not always enough manatees available for rehabilitation.
Despite these challenges, the rehabilitation of manatees in Florida is an important and necessary effort. With continued dedication and cooperation, the goal of returning these animals to the wild can be achieved.
Here are a few of the rehabilitation centers in Florida for manatees. There are many other organizations that are also involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of these amazing animals.
This is the largest and most well-known rehabilitation center for manatees in Florida. It has a 5-acre facility with pools, medical equipment, and staff that are experienced in caring for manatees.
Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
This zoo has a Manatee Critical Care Center that can care for up to 6 manatees at a time. The center has specialized equipment and staff that are dedicated to the rehabilitation of manatees.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park
This zoo has a Manatee Rehabilitation Center that has been caring for manatees since 1998. The center has a 1.5-acre facility with pools, medical equipment, and staff that are experienced in caring for manatees.
This aquarium has a Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Center that can care for up to 5 manatees at a time. The center has specialized equipment and staff that are dedicated to the rehabilitation of manatees.
Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
This museum has a Manatee Rehabilitation Program that has been caring for manatees since 1998. The program has a 1-acre facility with pools, medical equipment, and staff that are experienced in caring for manatees.
Report sick, injured, orphaned, and dead manatees immediately to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922, or to your local wildlife officials if you are outside of Florida. Click the following link to get more info on reporting injured manatees.