Manatee Affected By Red Tide Rescued And Being Treated At ZooTampa’s Critical Care Center

TAMPA, FL. – As red tide continues to affect the Florida coastline causing a severe impact to marine life, a manatee was rescued today near Sarasota by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and brought to ZooTampa by Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium for life-saving care.

The female is the twenty-third patient treated this year at the Zoo’s David A. Straz, Jr Critical Care Center, one of only four facilities of its kind that specializes in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick, injured, and orphaned manatees.

During the first 24 hours, the manatee will be closely monitored by a dedicated team of animal care and medical professional with assisted respiration.

Red tide is caused by a species of algae that secretes a toxin that affects the nervous system.  When ingested, it can cause seizures and paralysis in manatees who can drown because they cannot rise to the surface to breathe.

“With the fate of Florida’s manatees at a crossroads, we continue our unwavering commitment to a species that has been at the heart of our mission for more than 20 years,” stated Dr. Cynthia Stringfield, senior vice president of animal health, conservation, and education.

“Finding a conservation solution to the manatee crisis will take a collaborative effort by experts, scientists and the public. Whether it is providing animal rescue or veterinary support to manatees and other species, the professional staff at ZooTampa stand ready to help however we can,” said Stringfield.

ZooTampa is a leader in wildlife conservation of Florida and throughout the world. Its state-of-the-art David A Straz Jr. center has cared for more than 500 injured, sick and orphaned manatees with the majority returned to Florida waters.

A dedicated team of animal care and medical staff tend to manatees 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. ZooTampa is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is an active member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, release, and monitoring of manatees.

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