Page 18

November: Sweater Weather And Manatee Awareness Month November is Manatee Awareness Month! Every year we get the chance to show our appreciation for the gentle sea cows that call the Florida coast line home. Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo takes part in rescue and rehabilitation efforts to help keep our marine friends numbers afloat. There are natural threats, however manatees will more often be injured by boat collisions, loose fishing gear, or ingesting trash in the waters. Since 1991, the David A. Straz

Jr, Manatee Critical Care Center has provided critical care to over 400 Florida manatees. The critical care center is the first of its kind and is currently undergoing renovations to better serve the sea giants that need our aid! The water filtration system is being upgraded to provide a better life support system to help provide advanced, specialized care to these mammals. While this renovation takes place, The Zoo’s veterinary team is providing critical

Did You Know? care at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park and will be continuing our efforts to care for manatees.

• Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has cared for more than 400 manatees. • 82 manatees are injured by boat strike each year. • Rescued manatees stay an average of 173 days at the Critical Care Center. • A manatee can eat a tenth of its own weight in just 24 hours! • It takes $30,000 per month to feed the manatees, making them the most expensive species to feed at the zoo.

Manatee Rescue In Safety Harbor This past October, Senior Veterinarian Dr. Ray Ball was called onsite from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to assess the health of a manatee in Safety Harbor. The manatee was found with a crab trap caught around her flipper. A health assessment was performed and photos were taken for documentation. The FWC keeps a record of all manatees rescued, rehabbed and released for research and to track these manatees if they require critical care again. Dr. Ball needed to evaluate if the manatee needed to be transported to the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center at the Zoo. Thanks to additional resources provided by the McCune Family Foundation, The McCann Foundation, and the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund (GEBF), it was possible to evaluate a blood sample in the field and check for

18 • November 2017

anemia. Thankfully, the blood sample revealed she was perfectly healthy and simply needed that crab trap off her flipper. A complete blood analysis performed later at the Catherine Straz Veterinary Hospital at TLPZ also confirmed this manatee to indeed be very fit. After assessing her flipper, it was determined that amputation was the best solution for the welfare of this manatee. We know what you’re thinking, how can a manatee survive

without a flipper? Manatees are extremely resilient and can actually survive with one flipper. There is even documentation of manatees in the wild without flippers.

in our efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and release manatees at the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center with over 400 manatees cared for to date.

Thanks to the great efforts from FWC, TLPZ and volunteers, this manatee was released back to Florida waters. TLPZ is always working to help wildlife in need — especially Florida’s rare native animals. Intervention in the field is yet another way we fulfill our mission to protect Florida wildlife. We pride ourselves

If you see distressed or injured manatees, please call the FWC hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Say you saw it in the Gulf Coast Family Newspaper

Gulf Coast Family - November 2017  

Gulf Coast Family's primary purpose is to encourage families along the Gulf Coast by providing worthwhile information that deals with family...