A female manatee is fighting to live inside ZooTampa at Lowry Park after being rescued near Fort Myers Beach.
The sea cow was rescued Saturday. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist Denise Boyd told the News-Press that the manatee suffered blunt force injuries when she collided with a boat propeller.
“Her watercraft injuries were really severe and her blood work indicates just a ton of inflammation,” said veterinarian Lauren Smith, director of animal health at the David A. Straz Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center, a rehab facility for the marine mammals within the popular attraction.
Since 1991, the center’s team has treated 454 of the protected sea cows – some 20% from Lee and Collier counties – with 267 of its patients reintroduced into the state’s waters.
Whether the manatee from Fort Myers will ever join that number is an big question. When she arrived, staff didn’t even give a her name. “Usually the team waits a little bit to name them if they are a critical case,” said spokeswoman Sandra Torres.
FWC reminds beachgoers, boaters and the public to keep their distance from manatees in Florida waters and mind speed zones.
The FWC responds to reports of distressed manatees by investigating reports from the public and performs rescues for creatures in need of intervention. Call FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).