The Aquarium will open a temporary rehabilitation pool this summer
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced a three-phased manatee survival plan in response to the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) on the state’s east coast. In 2021, over 1000 manatees died, a record number of deaths in the state’s history. Many attribute this to the destruction of their aquatic habitat and food sources. Manatees are a flagship species and indicators of balance in their aquatic natural habitat.
For over a decade, Clearwater Marine Aquarium has assisted in rescuing, releasing, and tracking wild manatees around the world. In 2019, the aquarium introduced a new Research Institute division encompassing the staff and programs of the former Sea to Shore Alliance organization. The intent of Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI) is to broaden the conservation and research scope of CMA, resulting in advancements toward the protection of species and habitats.
To date, CMARI has tagged and provided the post release monitoring of 149 manatees for the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP). The data gathered over the past 20 years is vital to enhance the future health of rehabilitated, released manatees and their contribution to the recovery of the species. Together with techniques created from the experience of its partners in the MRP and knowledge gained from post-release monitoring, CMA’s rehabilitation efforts will focus on advancing behavioral adaptive components to further manatees’ acclimation to the wild. Currently, in addition to post-release monitoring, CMA offers logistical support, including staffing, vehicles, and the provision of a rescue boat for the MRP.
On the horizon, CMA will expand their life-saving manatee efforts in three phases:
- Phase one: together with the City of Clearwater, one temporary rehabilitation pool is expected to be open by the end of summer at the Aquarium. Manatee patients requiring rehabilitative care will recuperate before being released back to Florida waters.
- Phase two: working collaboratively with the City of Tarpon Springs, CMA will open three manatee rehabilitation pools in the Marine Mammal Stranding Rehabilitation Facility within Fred Howard Park in the next year. The funding request is currently with the Florida Legislature.
- Phase three: the aquarium plans to invest in the development of a new $10 million manatee hospital to treat and rehabilitate manatees for release. The new state-of-the-art facility, will replace the older pools previously home to Winter the dolphin. The planned facility will usher CMA into the MRP as a critical care facility capable of accepting the continued influx of manatees affected by habitat loss, red tide, boat injuries, cold stress syndrome and abandoned sea cows. CMA is currently raising funds to break ground for the manatee center.
MEDIA CONTACT Kelsy Long, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- About Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working marine rescue center dedicated to preserving our marine life and environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation and release. CMA is home to rescue dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, nurse sharks and more. Winter, the dolphin’s story of survival after injury that caused her to lose her tail, has impacted millions of people around the world. A major motion picture, Dolphin Tale, highlighted her life story in 2011. The sequel, Dolphin Tale 2, was released in September 2014 and features the incredible story of Hope, a young resident dolphin of CMA. The mission and potential to change people’s lives differentiates Clearwater Marine Aquarium from any other aquarium in the world
We believe in preserving our environment while inspiring the human spirit through leadership in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine life; environmental education; research; and conservation.
A Florida non-profit 501(c)(3) organization