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The Bishop Welcomes New Manatees

The Bishop Welcomes Two New Manatees to the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on World Oceans Day!

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature welcomed two new manatees to the Stage 2 Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on Tuesday, June 8 — World Oceans Day! They are the first animals to be cared for in the newly renovated Habitat, which reopens to the public on June 16.

The renovations were more than a year in planning and included input from veterinarians and animal care experts at The Bishop, as well as other partner facilities and organizations. Work began in March and the changes are designed to provide rehabilitating manatees a more naturally stimulating environment with variable depth and substrate that will help them transition even more successfully from rehabilitation back to the wild.

“We’re really pleased that the work is completed and that we can once again care for manatees,” said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care at The Bishop. “The two manatees that arrived today are both ‘local’ female manatees rescued in Sarasota. It’s nice to be able to help our manatee neighbors!”

The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat is a Stage 2 rehabilitation facility. Such facilities play a vital role in maintaining space for critically ill manatee patients in hospitals and allow manatees the time they need to fully recuperate, gain exposure to natural foods and feeding strategies and gain weight so that they are ready for their return to the wild.

The Bishop has cared for 44 rehabilitating manatees, including Tuesday’s arrivals:

  • Janus is a subadult female manatee that was rescued in January from Philippi Creek in Sarasota. Janus was unable to exit the canal and was suffering from cold stress when she was rescued. She was 6 feet long and weighed 295 pounds when she was rescued; today she’s 6.7 feet and weighs 420 pounds.
  • Iclyn is another subadult female manatee. She was rescued in January from Whitaker Bayou in Sarasota suffering from cold stress. Iclyn was 6.5 feet long and weighed 360 pounds at rescue; today she’s 7.3 feet long and weighs 525 pounds.

The team prepares to move Janus into the Museum from the transport truck.

Iclyn, just before she was placed in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat.

The Bishop has been rehabilitating manatees since 1998 and was a founding member of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in 2001. The MRP is a cooperative of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities that rescue, rehabilitate and return manatees to the wild.

Florida manatees are at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide and cold stress are natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-related threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, entanglement in monofilament and crab trap line, or ingestion of fishing gear and plastic bags.

If you see an injured manatee, you can help by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing *FWC on a cellular device.

The Bishop’s Director of Animal Care Virginia Edmonds and Dr. David Murphy review the health records of Janus and Iclyn after the manatees’ arrival at The Bishop.

Edmonds observes Iclyn and Janus in the med pool.