In Florida, wildlife managers and environmental groups are stunned by a record number of manatee deaths. More than 750 manatees have died since the beginning of the year, the most deaths ever recorded in a five month period. Most of the deaths are in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon, where a large die-off of seagrass has left manatees without enough to eat.
Despite their portly frame and inherent meekness, Florida’s manatees are survivors. When power plants began popping up along Florida’s East and West coasts, manatees learned to follow the flow of the unseasonably warm water. When boats with sharp motors increasingly flooded their habitats, they learned how to live with debilitating injuries, or tried to. And when their favorite source of food began to disappear when toxic algae infested the water, they learned to eat less, often at the cost of their health. Their gentle nature belies a deceptive resilience.
In December 2020, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, or FWC, notified the University of Florida Marine Animal Rescue, or UF MAR, headquartered in Cedar Key and at UF, that a young satellite-tagged manatee named Carmen was needing rescue in the Suwannee River.
With fewer than 400 individuals remaining, North Atlantic right whales are one of the world’s most endangered large whale species. NOAA Fisheries has developed regulations to help protect these whales from vessel collisions and entanglements.
An injured mother manatee and her calf were rescued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and University of Florida Marine Animal Rescue (UFMAR) after Steinhatchee locals reported she was potentially injured Thursday.
For the second time in three weeks a young dolphin is swimming free of fishing line, thanks to the efforts of a rescue team made up of partner organizations along Florida’s west coast.
A marine mammal rescue team from the University of Florida spent hours in late June trying to rescue a short-finned pilot whale in the Gulf of Mexico near Steinhatchee, only to have to euthanize it. In its death, the whale still provided no clues as to why it ended up stranded in shallow water and split from its pod.
The 725 lb. whale beached herself in Dixie County, FL on July 1. Discovered by beach goers, teams from the University of Florida and Clearwater Marine Aquarium rescued and transported her to our rehabilitation facility for continued medical care. Upon arrival, our team initiated around-the-clock care. She responded quickly to treatment from our veterinarian team and began to show signs of improvement almost immediately.
NOAA confirms that a whale that was found beached in Taylor County on Thursday had to be euthanized. The pilot whale was removed from the beach and will be transferred to the University of Florida for a necropsy to determine the official cause of death. According to NOAA, the whale was in poor condition, and a veterinarian reports the mammal could not be saved and euthanasia was the best option.