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New Manatees Arrive at The Bishop for Rehabilitation

Two new manatees — Felicia and Doscal — arrived at The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat on Sept. 25 to gain weight and receive pre-release conditioning before their return to the wild. The manatees are expected to remain at The Bishop until winter 2021.

The move from SeaWorld went off without a hitch, said The Bishop’s Director of Animal Care, Virginia Edmonds. “They seem very calm in the habitat and started eating right away — a good sign. We’ll be performing daily observations to make sure they have a smooth transition to The Bishop.”

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

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature has been rehabilitating manatees since 1998 and was a founding partner of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in 2001. This cooperative group includes nonprofit, private, state and federal organizations that study manatees and/or participate in manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop is a Stage 2 rehabilitation facility — the place where manatees come after their critical health needs have been taken care of. Its main tasks 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 time to finish the healing process. Typically, animals remain at The Bishop anywhere from a few months to more than a year.

Felicia and Doscal are the 39th and 40th rehabilitating manatees that The Bishop has housed since 1998.

In this image, Manatee Care Specialists Mandy Deardeuff (at the tail) and Kaelyn Tharp (at the head) measure Doscal after he arrived at The Bishop. Tara Whitcomb, Manatee Care Specialist, records the information as Veterinarian David Murphy oversees the process.