Rehabilitated manatee released in Bonita Springs
Florida travel guide to manatee rescue and release
When Doug Kollmer and and Nick Hoops headed out for a casual paddle in their kayaks on January 24th, they never imagined they’d see a manatee belly-up in the water in a Bonita estuary. They ended up helping the manatee roll over, held his head up and fed him fresh water until the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission arrived. The release on May 15th is a recovery success story. In February this year, two manatees were released at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park Springs after a much longer recovery period.
Manatees are an endangered species, protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act.
The manatee suffered from red tide, tiny microorganisms that create toxins that can paralyze marine life and affect their vertebrate nervous systems. Over two dozen manatees have died this way.
The manatee was taken to the rehab program at Miami Seaquarium where workers gave her the moniker Breva, named after the scientific term for red tide: Karenia brevis. When she first arrived at the Sequarium, she could barely move or lift her head but after a strong dose of antibiotics, she started gaining weight back from 670 to her current 880 pounds.
Both Kollmer and Hoops, along with volunteers, returned Breva to Bonita waters. She was lifted from the large truck, where she was resting on pads and being spritzed with water, and then lowered into the waters.
Have you ever spotted a manatee when traveling in Florida?