It was high fives all around for National High Five Day on Thursday, April18, 2019, as The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature’s animal care team celebrated the successful move of two new manatees to The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, where the animals will finish their recovery before their return to the wild.
The manatees — nicknamed Slate and Obsidian — were both orphaned male calves suffering from cold stress when they were rescued on Feb. 15, 2018, from the Crystal River near Kings Bay. Slate was about 163 pounds and 5 feet long when he was rescued; Obsidian was 198 pounds and also about 5 feet long. The manatees are not related. Since their rescue, they have been treated at SeaWorld.
“We’re happy to welcome these boys to The Bishop,” said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care. “They have a lot of growing up to do before they can return to the wild, so we expect them to be with us for about the next year or so.”
Slate and Obsidian are the 37th and 38th manatees to be cared for in The Bishop’s Stage 2 rehabilitation habitat — the place where manatees come after their critical care needs have been met, where they can grow to an appropriate size for release and, if previously injured, continue the healing process.
Slate and Obsidian join The Bishop’s current rehabilitating manatee, ONeil, an orphaned male that was just 30 pounds when he was rescued in 2015; he came to us in 2018.
Upon admission to The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on Thursday, Slate was 440 pounds and was just over 7 feet long; Obsidian weighed in at 523 pounds and was just under 7 feet long.
The Bishop was a founding member of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in 2001. This cooperative group of nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations participates in manatee population management and manatee rescue and rehabilitation. If you see an injured manatee, you can help by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hotline at 1-888-404-3922.