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Bradenton's Bishop Museum receives a grant to rehabilitate more injured manatees

A manatee floating in water
Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
Upgrades include emergency transportation, veterinary lab equipment, and renovation of a newly leased facility in Myakka City.

A recent grant from the FWC will will allow the museum to also help with critical care.

A facility in Myakka City will expand on the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature's 60,000-gallon Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat where several young female manatees are currently recovering from cold stress.

The building, once used for sea lion conservation, has seven pools with life support systems that can house up to nine manatees.

The Bishop’s Animal Service Director Virginia Edmonds, says a recent grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will allow the museum to not only rehabilitate more manatees but also help with critical care.

"The money became available because everyone understood that there needs to be a step up in helping these animals and that we could do something hopefully that's sooner rather than later because we're not having to build a whole new facility, we're just having to retrofit it, “she said.

The Bishop’s Parker habitat offers manatees a chance to recover from injuries and to gain weight so that they are able to eventually return to their natural habitat, Edmonds said.

A manatee laying on a blue tarp about to be lifted by yellow cords
Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
Janus is a female manatee that was rescued in January from Philippi Creek in Sarasota. She was suffering from cold stress when she was rescued and now lives at the Bishop's Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat.

"While they're with us, we're trying to teach them some things about the wild and set them up for success and at the same time, a big part of what we do is free up space at the hospitals so they can continue to take in critically injured manatees and not reach capacity ever," she said. "We want them to be able to take every manatee they can.”

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is a founding member of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership which also includes ZooTampa.

Florida still is seeing an unusually high number of manatee mortalities, but the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believes its efforts are helping.

According to the agency, a total of 765 manatees have died in Florida in 2022 as of Dec. 9.

Last year, the FWC recorded 1,101 by the end of December.

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