Make us your home page
Instagram

Lowry Park Zoo calls baby manatee's death 'tragic illustration' of human impact (w/video)

It was just a week ago that the Lowry Park Zoo was posting videos on its Facebook page of the orphan manatee calf nicknamed Emoji. He was happily swimming, drinking formula from a bottle and seemed to be making great health strides three months after he had arrived at the zoo emaciated and with a stomach full of trash.

But Monday morning, the heartsick veterinary staff reported that the little seacow had passed away.

"Emoji is a tragic illustration of the consequences that simple human actions have on the world around us," said Dr. Ray Ball, senior veterinarian for Lowry Park Zoo. "Now more than ever, we must hold ourselves accountable, whether that's keeping trash and plastics out of our waterways or being more mindful of potential consequences of propeller strikes on wildlife while boating."

Along with cold stress and other health issues, veterinarians also found Emoji had plastic bags in his stomach. Many orphaned calves also mistakenly ingest fishing line, fishing hooks and other pollutants while searching for food.

The little manatee was named after the zoo's effort to petition Unicode, the nonprofit that regulates the universal coding for emojis, to create a manatee emoji. The petition effort lives on, and you can learn about it here and sign the petition.

Emoji was around two weeks old and weighed just 66 pounds when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescued him in late October and brought him to the zoo's manatee hospital. On Jan. 26, the zoo posted a video updating his progress. He had gained 10 pounds and seemed to be on the mend, though there were still health concerns because he faced so many issues at such a young age.

Monday morning, at 2 a.m., the rescued calf died. The zoo will perform a full necropsy, officials there said, which will provide details on the exact cause of death.

"Alongside helping educate the public about manatee care and the dangers of pollution, Emoji allowed the zoo's animal care team to learn more about critical manatee care," a zoo statement said.

In the process of treating him, the veterinary staff discovered Emoji had a very common health issue with manatees called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Emoji was both clotting and bleeding at the same time. The zoo credits six years of research into DIC in finding novel ways to stabilize him and improving his condition.

In addition to the lessons he taught researchers, the zoo said the public should learn a lesson from him, too.

"It's a lesson that a simple human behavior like not throwing trash in waterways, can prevent manatee injuries and deaths," Ball said.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

Lowry Park Zoo recently posted this photo on its Facebook page of the orphan manatee calf nicknamed Emoji, who seemed to be making great health strides three months after he had arrived at the zoo emaciated and with a stomach full of trash. But Monday morning, the heartsick veterinary staff reported that the little seacow had passed away. [Lowry Park Zoo via Facebook]

Lowry Park Zoo recently posted this photo on its Facebook page of the orphan manatee calf nicknamed Emoji, who seemed to be making great health strides three months after he had arrived at the zoo emaciated and with a stomach full of trash. But Monday morning, the heartsick veterinary staff reported that the little seacow had passed away. [Lowry Park Zoo via Facebook]

Lowry Park Zoo calls baby manatee's death 'tragic illustration' of human impact (w/video) 02/01/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2017 10:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 18

    Events

    Dali and Schiaparelli: Opening Day: A retrospective exhibit of designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations with Dali. It features gowns, accessories, sketches, objects and photos, as well as new designs from the House of Schiaparelli. Remains on display through Jan. 14. 10 a.m., Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd. …

  2. Fresh figs take a starring role in this fig cake

    Cooking

    Figs are showy fruit.

    They can't help themselves. Even the plainest, drabbest fig will reveal a scarlet belly, flecked with shimmering seeds, once you take a bite. Whether they're sliced or halved, arranged in a tart shell, on a crostini or just on a plate, there are few visions more enticing. This is why most fig …

    Chopping fresh figs and folding them into cake batter is not something you usually see, but that’s exactly what happens in this recipe for fig cake.
  3. As Faith Hill and Tim McGraw come to Tampa, here's why their love fascinates and endures

    Music & Concerts

    Eight years ago, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill stood on the sidelines of Raymond James Stadium, waiting for Hill's cue to perform America the Beautiful before Super Bowl XLIII. He held her hand and they kissed as the Steelers, Cardinals and a television audience of 150 million waited in the wings.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform during the “Soul2Soul” World Tour at Staples Center on July 14 in Los Angeles.
  4. From the food editor: Five things I'm enjoying in the food world right now

    Cooking

    Sometimes your notebook is scribbled with little thoughts here and there, things you come across in the food world and want to share but aren't sure how or when. Well, folks, I need to get some of this off my chest. Here is a somewhat random collection of culinary things I am really enjoying right now:

    Espresso Sea Salt Cookie Sandwiches with a cooked buttercream frosting, from St. Petersburg home bakery Wandering Whisk Bakeshop. Photo by Jennifer Jacobs.
  5. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins: Yacht rock paradise at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Music & Concerts

    Frosty wine coolers and a misty sunset sea breeze. White linen pants and a tilted captain's hat. Coconut milk and an awful lot of rum.

    Kenny Loggins performs during Little Kids Rock Benefit 2016 at Capitale on October 5, 2016 in New York City.