Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Manatee recuperating at Lowry Park Zoo after near-fatal collision with boat

TAMPA — The manatee's large gray body was left bloody and split open in the back. A chunk of tail was gone.

She had been hit by the manatee's biggest threat: a boat.

The 1,285-pound manatee was taken two weeks ago to Lowry Park Zoo for treatment, and officials said Wednesday they hope her suffering serves as a reminder to boaters to be aware of manatee zones, especially during the busy Memorial Day weekend.

For a month, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials tried to catch the manatee near Englewood in south Sarasota County. This was not the first time she was hit: They knew her by her scars.

Her tail wound was catastrophic, said Ray Ball, director of medical sciences at the zoo. Her split tail exposed vertebrae and slowed the functioning in her gut. The spinal injury led to a slow infection, and she suffered severe anemia and pneumonia. In the wild, she would have died.

Up to a quarter of manatee deaths in Florida stem from injuries with watercraft, according to the commission.

On Wednesday, at the zoo's David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Hospital, the manatee was raised out of a warm pool for treatment. Zookeepers were trying to keep her stable. Ball rinsed her bloody tail.

Crouched near the manatee's head, Tanya Ward, a mammal zookeeper, said the manatee's skin was textured like a basketball or a tire. At her tail, the gray skin gave way to a gruesome, fleshy wound.

Zookeepers used cloths soaked in a sugar solution to clean the manatee's infected wound. The manatee opened and closed her eyes while she was treated. Sometimes, she let out a deep breath and flared her nostrils.

Her recovery could take all summer or longer, Ball said, but she is expected to survive.

"She's shown a lot of resilience," Ball said. "I'm actually a lot more optimistic than when she first came in."

It's not clear if the manatee will be able to keep what is left of her tail, Ball sad. Her bone is exposed, making treatment very difficult.

But she is recovering, and biologists have said some manatees do well in the wild even without a full tail, Ball said. The manatee would likely be released near where she was found in the Englewood area.

Manatee hotline

To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's hotline, toll-free at 1-888-404-3922.

Manatee recuperating at Lowry Park Zoo after near-fatal collision with boat 05/25/11 [Last modified: Friday, May 27, 2011 10:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump reveals that he didn't record Comey after all

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Thursday he never made and doesn't have recordings of his private conversations with ousted former FBI director James Comey, ending a monthlong guessing game that he started with a cryptic tweet and that ensnared his administration in yet more controversy.

    President Donald Trump said Thursday that he didn’t record his conversations with James Comey.
  2. Lightning fans, don't get attached to your first-round draft picks

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — When Lightning GM Steve Yzerman announces his first-round pick tonight in the amateur draft at No. 14, he'll invite the prospect onto the stage for the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) eludes  Montreal Canadiens left wing Phillip Danault (24) during the second period of Wednesday???‚??„?s (12/28/16) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Montreal Canadiens at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  3. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. Uhuru mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel protests exclusion from debate

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Jesse Nevel, the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement candidate for mayor, on Thursday demanded that he be allowed to participate in a July 25 televised debate between incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and challenger Rick Baker.

    Mayoral candidate Jesse Nevel holds a news conference outside the headquarters of the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday to protest his exclusion from the mayoral debate. Nevel is a member of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement.
  5. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman also has top-9 wing on his wish list

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Much has been made about the Lightning's interest in bolstering its blue line, even after last week's acquisition of defense prospect Mikhail Sergachev.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101