CEO Frank Dame said: “Right here, where Winter’s legacy began, a new legacy will emerge as Clearwater Marine Aquarium furthers our commitment to saving Florida’s iconic species, the manatee.”
“I appreciate that CMA educates our citizens and our visitors on maintaining the quality of our marine life – it’s so critically important,” added Mayor Hibbard.
Winter the dolphin’s former home
In addition to the manatee rehabilitation exhibit, Clearwater Marine Aquarium previously revealed plans to open a rehabilitation centre at its Fred Howard Park facility in winter 2021.
Originally built to rehabilitate cetaceans, the centre will accept the influx of manatees affected by the unusual mortality event (UME) happening on the east coast of Florida.
It will also accept manatees with boat strike wounds and cold stress syndrome. At the two sites, the aquarium will be adding approximately 12 ‘beds’ for manatees in need.
“The addition of both sites to the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership capacity broadens our duty as devoted stewards to the species as well as to our colleagues,” said Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute president Dr. James Powell.
CMA also opening rehab centre
Clearwater Marine Aquarium has assisted in rescuing, releasing and tracking manatees in Florida and across the world for more than 10 years.
The aquarium has received $95,000 in federal funding to go towards the construction of the manatee rehabilitation sites. It is seeking additional grants to help offset the costs.
Elsewhere, Mexico-based theme park operator the Dolphin Company reached an agreement with Palace Entertainment to take over operations at the Miami Seaquarium in Florida.
Images: Clearwater Marine Aquarium