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New Manatees Arrive for Rehabilitation

Two new manatees — Viva and Collie — arrived at The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on Dec. 10 to receive pre-release conditioning before they return to the wild.

“Today we received two female manatees from ZooTampa,” said The Bishop’s Director of Animal Care, Virginia Edmonds. “It’s been a busy rescue season and we are fulfilling our role as a second stage rehabilitation facility for manatees. Accepting manatees like Viva and Collie along with two we received earlier this year from SeaWorld, Felicia and Doscal, opens up space at critical care hospitals. Our goal is to help manatees and support our rehabilitation partners. It is what drives us every day!”

  • Viva is a female manatee about 6.5 feet long, weighing about 332 pounds. She was rescued on Nov. 11 from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Island in Lee County suffering from the effects of red tide.
  • Collie, another female manatee, about 7 feet long and weighed about 551 pounds when she was rescued after a boat strike from the Gordon River near Naples in Collier County on June 11.

Viva and Collie are the 41st and 42nd rehabilitating manatees that The Bishop has cared for since 1998 and they join our current manatee residents, Felicia and Doscal.

  • Felicia is a female manatee about 7 feet long and 397 pounds that was rescued from Ruskin Inlet on April 22 with her mother, who suffered a watercraft injury. Felicia’s mother did not survive.
  • Doscal is a male weighing in at about 347 pounds and 7 feet long that was an emaciated orphan rescued from the Orange River in Lee County on April 3.

The Museum became a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in 2001 and our Stage 2 rehabilitation facility is the place where manatees come after their critical health needs have been taken care of.

The main tasks for the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop are bringing rehabilitating manatees, rescued as orphans, up to the right size and weight for release or, if the animals were sick or injured, allowing them to finish the healing process. Typically, animals remain at The Bishop anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Manatees are a threatened species at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide and cold stress are natural problems that can impair 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.