BRADENTON, FLA.- — Guests may once again check out manatees at the newly renovated Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature.
The habitat opened to the public on Wednesday. It was under construction for the past 2 months.
The new habitat resembles a cypress spring and provides rehabilitating manatees with an environment that closely mimics what they encounter in the wild.
"It use to be manatees were at the bottom or at the top. Now if they want to rest in a shallower depth, they can do that. We definitely see them using that. It's textured so it has a little sandy texture to it instead of being a smooth bottom and they like that because they're very tactile. They can check out the rough surfaces and also scratch on the rough surfaces which they like to do too," said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care.
Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Care at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, said they are caring for two manatees.
Janus is a female manatee that was rescued in January from Philippi Creek in Sarasota. She was unable to exit the canal and was suffering from cold stress when she was rescued. Iclyn is another female manatee. She was rescued in January from Whitaker Bayou in Sarasota suffering from cold stress.
"Both of them probably should have been hanging out with their moms a little bit more and learning from their moms a little bit more so they're both considered somewhat naive to the wild," said Edmonds.
"Both manatees were found without their moms. It's not their first cause of rescue, but having cold stress says maybe you didn't get all the information you needed and spend all the time you needed with your mom."
The manatees will be released into the wild once they are healthy enough.
"Next year, you might see the smaller one, but the other one will probably be released by the winter," said Edmonds.
The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Guests may visit the museum from Wednesday to Saturday.
For more information on the manatee habitat visit: www.bishopscience.org.
The FWC responds to reports of distressed manatees by investigating reports from the public and performs rescues for those animals in need of intervention. Call FWC's Wildlife Alert hotline: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922), press "7" to speak with an operator.
Never push back a stranded marine mammal back out to sea if found stranded on the beach.