Manatee habitat to get upgrades at The Bishop
With improvements coming to the manatee habitat at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, its three current residents will have to say goodbye to Bradenton and the habitat temporarily will close.
The Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat at the museum will be closed to the public starting Wednesday.
Manatees Obsidian and Slate will move to Zoo Tampa on Tuesday to continue their recovery, and Oneil will depart Wednesday for SeaWorld in Orlando.
Oneil has been in the museum’s manatee habitat since 2018. He was an orphaned male rescued in 2015.
Slate and Obsidian came to Bishop together in April. They were unrelated, orphaned male calves suffering from cold stress and were rescued in February.
While they’re away, workers will begin buffing the glass windows and applying a new epoxy coat to the floor in the care area that is not viewable to the public.
Work is expected to be completed by mid-September.
In the meantime, manatee care staff will give live presentations about manatees in the Discovery Place Classroom and the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is offering a $3 discount on admission.
Remi Gonzalez, Bishop’s director of communications, noted that some of the manatees may not return to the habitat, as it depends on the needs of the animal and what Bishop can accommodate. They may be ready to be released or the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership may have other manatees come in.
The Bishop’s habitat is a Stage 2 rehab facility for manatees that have had their critical health needs addressed.
The upgrades to the manatee facility have been planned for some time, are not safety-driven and not related to the incident that caused the death of the beloved Snooty, Gonzalez said.
Snooty the manatee, once the oldest manatee in captivity at 69 years old, drowned sometime between July 22 and July 23, 2017, and was found in an underwater plumbing access area in the aquarium.
Snooty became stuck inside a panel door that came loose when it should have been bolted shut.
Third-party investigators found the museum was at fault, reporting the manatee’s death was “preventable.”