Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Apollo Beach manatee observation vessels needed

In mid-late Jan, two rehabilitated manatees are being released in the Apollo Beach area. Because there are concerns about these two manatees in their ability to "e-adapt" to life in the wild, Sea to Shore Alliance (a local non-profit) will be attaching radio/satellite transmitters to these two manatees and tracking them for 3-4 months. During this time, we need to make 90-min long visual observations of these two manatees 1-2 times per week.

While the weather is cold, it is likely the manatees will remain in the TECO discharge area, making it very easy to conduct these visual observations. However, if the manatees venture away from the discharge (to feed or travel), we will need to go out in a boat to locate them. Unfortuantely, we do not have a boat to use in the area until late Feb or March.

We are looking for a boat we can access (either rent, borrow, or find a volunteer willing to take me out) in the event one or both manatees disperse away from the TECO area. I realize it will be difficult to find this on a regular basis, but I can easily "cobble together" different options. Therefore, if you have access to a vessel and would be interested in assisting me, even a couple of times, please let me know. Observations are usually done on weekdays but can occassionally be done on weekends. Depending on whether we need to locate one or both manatees outside the TECO area, the "excursion" (of locating and observing the manatees) could take anywhere from 2.5 - 6 hours. I can cover costs if you are willing to use a personal vessel.

Please let me know if you are intersted or have any other ideas. You can contact me via email ( or phone (727 424 9957). Thank you so much!

Jessica Koelsch
Marine Wildlife Conservationist
Sea to Shore Alliance
200 2nd Ave South #315
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Fax 727.954.3390

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