Home Education The Gulfarium Partners with Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation

The Gulfarium Partners with Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation

In a concerted effort to safeguard the future of Florida’s beloved manatees, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park proudly announces its partnership with the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP). Through this collaboration, the Gulfarium is dedicated to providing a safe haven for manatees transitioning from critical care to readiness for release back into the wild.

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Manatees, often vulnerable to various threats, face mortality risks from human activity such as boat strikes, flood gates, and entanglement in debris. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), in 2023 alone, 556 manatees perished in the state, with 89 falling victim to boat strikes. These staggering figures underscore the critical need for rehabilitation programs like those facilitated by the Gulfarium and MRP.

“Our commitment to conservation efforts now includes manatee rehabilitation and release initiatives,” said Patrick Berry, Vice President and COO of Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park. “Through our partnership with MRP and the support of our community, we aim to turn the tide on manatee mortality rates and ensure a brighter future for these gentle creatures.”

To support its mission, the Gulfarium is embarking on a significant habitat renovation project. The centerpiece of this project is the conversion of the resident dolphins’ former home – a  300,000-gallon main habitat- into a specialized space for long-term rescued manatees. The renovation includes enhancements such as new windows, a medical/husbandry area, natural theming, and modifications to Life Support Systems (LSS) equipment. Moreover, the habitat will feature resting ledges tailored to the needs of rescued manatees, providing them with comfort and support during their rehabilitation journey.

The new habitat is expected to be completed this fall.  Updates can be found at www.Gulfarium.com/manatees.

“We are thrilled to embark on this renovation project, which marks a significant milestone for our facility, our local community, and overall manatee conservation,” added Patrick Berry. “With the generous $2.4 million grant from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, we are confident in our ability to make a meaningful impact on manatee populations.”

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park remains steadfast in its dedication to manatee conservation, working hand in hand with partners, stakeholders, and the community to ensure a thriving future for these cherished marine mammals. As we look to the future, the Gulfarium will continue its efforts to protect and preserve Florida’s iconic manatees for generations to come.

About Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Located on the beautiful Gulf Coast in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is a premier destination for guests seeking an unforgettable blend of entertainment, education, and marine conservation. With a rich history spanning over 69 years, the Gulfarium offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.