Clearwater Marine Aquarium’s Manatee Rehabilitation Center Officially Breaks Ground

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CLEARWATER, Fla., April 25, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) held a groundbreaking ceremony for its Manatee Rehabilitation Center, commemorating a milestone for the aquarium. The new center will allow CMA to accept the influx of manatees in need of restorative care. CMA will care for manatees recovering from the effects of seagrass and habitat loss that contributed to the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) on Florida’s east coast, red tide exposure, boat strike wounds, cold stress syndrome and others. The center will use technology including ozone treatment and medical habitats with false bottoms for the comfort of the manatees and safety of the animal care staff.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium's CEO Joe Handy

“Clearwater Marine Aquarium is committed to the conservation and protection of manatees, and the aquarium plays a vital role in this effort,” said Joe Handy, CEO. “By educating our visitors and supporting research and rescue efforts, we can make a real difference in the survival of these gentle giants,” said Handy. “It is our responsibility to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to appreciate and admire these magnificent creatures in their native waters.”

Vulnerable to extinction, manatees are a flagship species and indicators of balance in their aquatic natural habitat. They play a vital role in maintaining the health of their ecosystems. As stewards of this threatened species, CMA’s goal is to educate guests about manatees and their conservation status. Visitors can learn about the threats to manatees and what they can do to help protect them.

In 2019, the aquarium introduced a new Research Institute division encompassing the staff and programs of the former Sea to Shore Alliance organization. The intent of Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute (CMARI) is to broaden the conservation and research scope of CMA, resulting in advancements toward the protection of species and habitats both locally and globally. Dr. James “Buddy” Powell, chief zoological officer for CMA, has worked to protect manatees around the globe for more than 40 years through hands-on field study and scientific research.

Funding for this project is made possible by the State of Florida, FWC, Duke Energy Foundation, John H. Prescott Marine Mammal Rescue Assistance Grant Program and a handful of private donors.

About Clearwater Marine Aquarium:     

Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working marine rescue center dedicated to inspiring the human spirit through leadership in education, research, rescue, rehabilitation and release. With a mission to preserve the environment and its marine life, CMA is home to rescued dolphins, sea turtles, river otters, stingrays, a nurse shark, and more. Through Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, CMA conducts important global research focused on protecting manatees, North Atlantic right whales and sea turtles. Major motion picture Dolphin Tale (2011) and its sequel Dolphin Tale 2 (2014) features the true stories of rescued resident dolphins Winter and Hope, inspiring millions around the world. The mission and potential to change people’s lives differentiates Clearwater Marine Aquarium from any other aquarium in the world. 



Marsha Strickhouser

[email protected]

Future Manatee Rehabilitation Center at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Clearwater Marine Aquarium breaks ground on Manatee Rehabilitation Center

Groundbreaking on Clearwater Marine Aquarium's Manatee Rehabilitation Center

Clearwater Marine Aquarium logo (PRNewsfoto/Clearwater Marine Aquarium)

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SOURCE Clearwater Marine Aquarium

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