BRADENTON, Fla. — While red tide has spared the Bay Area for the most part this year, a young manatee affected by the toxin has been transferred to Bradenton for rehabilitation.
- Viva was rescued last month from Pine Island Sound
- Manatees vulnerable to the effects of red tide
- More Manatee County headlines
Viva was rescued in November from Pine Island Sound in Lee County as she was suffering from the effects of red tide. She's just 6.5 feet long and roughly 330 pounds.
She was first transferred to ZooTampa and is now at the The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat under the watchful eye of Virginia Edmonds.
Edmonds isn’t sure what exactly Viva’s symptoms were when she was rescued last month, but says manatees are particularly vulnerable to the effects of red tide because the toxin lurks in the seagrass they eat.
"They'll have some seizures; they can roll around a little bit,” she explained. “Sometimes they're completely incapacitated and they don't move at all.”
Once the manatee is moved to clean water it only takes a couple of days for them to start to feel better.
"The toxin gets removed from their body, pretty similar to how a person would react to food poisoning,” she said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirms that 10 manatees living in red tide affected waters in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties died in the month of November. A number of others, like Viva, were sickened.
Collie, a second female manatee, was also transferred to The Bishop for rehabilitation this week. She was rescued after being struck by a boat in Collier County, but can’t return home due to medium concentrations of red tide in the water.
On Wednesday, Viva and Collie appeared to be doing well and were eating right alongside Doscal and Felicia, who have been living at the habitat for the last few months.