Clearwater Marine Aquarium options manatee rehab heart

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Extra manatees have died in the initial 6 months of this calendar year than any other 12 months in Florida’s history. FWC states 841 sea cows have died due to the fact January 1.

With crimson tide worries rising, researchers and maritime biologists get worried more manatees could be in threat. Pinellas County leaders say the harmful bloom in Tampa Bay is killing off seagrass at an alarming price, which manatees will need to endure.

In response, Clearwater Maritime Aquarium is stepping up to support save the beloved animals.

“I’ve never ever viewed it this bad. I’ve been learning manatees for around 50 years,” explained Dr. James Buddy Powell, the Executive Director of CMA’s Exploration Institute.

Powell says manatees are up in opposition to a “perfect storm,” h2o pollution, the pandemic pushing additional individuals towards boating and diminishing seagrass.

“We’ve had hundreds of manatees die of starvation,” he lamented.

Clearwater Maritime Aquarium is now turning to a pool facility at Fred Howard Park to provide as a rehabilitation web-site for manatees.


Within just a number of months, CMA hopes to assist six manatees at a time at the facility in Tarpon Springs applying an existing 40-foot pool and two smaller specific swimming pools for critically hurt animals.

The rehab facility was built in 2019 and has been utilized to aid hurt dolphins and a pair of pilot whales that turned stranded on Redington Beach two several years ago.

CMA leaders hope to study the manatees, even following they are released back into the wild, will assist maritime biologists locate new ways to guard them.

“It’s frightening specially if this is likely to be a reoccurring occasion,” Powell included.

The goal is to increase storage place, a lot more electricity and other upgrades to the facility to get it up and working by December or January, when the manatees seek out out warmer drinking water and are much more in hazard of getting hit by boats or starving from a lack of seagrass.

Dr. Shelly Marquardt, a veterinarian with CMA, states the updates are on the fast keep track of to assist manatees at a vital time.

“While they are outlined as threatened at this position, a important reduction to this inhabitants actually could set them back again into that endangered category. That’s truly some thing we are hoping to protect against,” she said.


Boating accidents utilized to be the key resource of manatee fatalities. So considerably, 63 have been killed by boat strikes in Florida in 2021. Nevertheless, persistent algal blooms are incorporating one more dilemma. The blooms can impression the clarity of the water which leads to fewer sunlight achieving the seagrass and resulting in the underwater crops to die off.

Some environmentalists are pushing for manatee to be reclassified as endangered. Manatees have been reclassified as threatened in 2017. It’s believed that 6,300 manatees at present stay in Florida waters.

The upgraded Tarpon Springs rehabilitation facility for manatees will not be open to the general public, but in the future, CMA hopes to be able to rehab the sea cows at their aquarium in Clearwater, as well.

Lorena Princevalle

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