Manatee Critical Care Center
Vilanzo the manatee was beached and cold stressed, but got some new friends while he was rescued, rehabilitated, and released back into the wild by Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission - watch his story here:
About the Manatee Critical Care Facility
The charismatic state marine mammal of Florida is endangered and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is here to help. Committed to saving endangered species that live right in our backyard, JZG is in the process of constructing the first ever manatee critical care center in northeast Florida. Though found in the waterways around the First Coast, any manatee that becomes cold-stressed or injured needs to be transported to other care centers in Orlando, Tampa or Miami.
Building a critical care center in northeast Florida will provide more immediate care for the already-stressed animals and also cut down on transport distance and time for state employees and volunteers.
The $2.1 million center was funded by private individuals who recognized the need for a care center in the region, and a $500,000 grant from the State of Florida. Built to hold 5-6 animals at a time (pending each animal’s individual situation), the center will provide temporary housing and care for manatees until they are healthy enough to be returned to the location they were found.
Located at the juncture of the Education campus, Wild Florida and the back of the gorilla exhibit, the center will provide limited and periodic views of manatees for Zoo guests and offer behind-the-scenes tours. However, due to the center only providing temporary housing, there may be times no manatees are present in the pools.
Recent Rendering of the Manatee Critical Care Center (drawing not to specifications).