Whitaker Bayou is a female manatee that was rescued as an orphan with cold stress in Whitaker Bayou, Sarasota County on 2/9/06. She was 184 cm in length and weighed only 285 lbs. Whitaker was taken to Lowry Park Zoo to recover from cold stress, grow and gain weight. Whitaker was released on 2/16/07 at Warm Mineral Springs with two other rehabilitated manatees. Whitaker was 240 cm in length and weighed 745 lbs on the day of her release.
04/20/2011 08:48 PM
2/25/07: Moved out of Shell Creek on Friday 2/23 into Myakka River. Has been very social with other manatees and was even observed feeding on oak leaves on 2/17.
Whitaker's broke her tether and her tag came off Friday night around 645 pm due to entanglement in dock lines hanging in the water. A resident observed the entanglement and reported the tag recover to me shortly after the incident.
In order to locate this off-line individual, the following efforts are in effect:
- A sonic buoy was deployed in the Myakka River ; there have been no hits since early April.
- There is weekly sonic tracking throughout the area.
- A press release requesting help from the public was put out in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota Counties, with no reported sightings to date.
6/12/07 – 9/17/07:
There have been no new sightings on Whitaker.
Whitaker was retagged at WMS on 1/7/8. She was seen on Sat and Sun with a large group of animals by FWC. We were lucky on Monday that by mid afternoon she had swam back up into the spring and was only with eight just before the curve. While the swimmer was in the spring, one animal left the area while seven entered the area. During the retagging, the animals in the immediate area only turned to face the swimmer and three followed her up the run to the exit location.
Whitaker did have a propeller cut series on her back that appeared to be healing well. Otherwise she looked great and her body condition appeared to be a 3...maybe even a 3+ :)
Whitaker remained in Warm Mineral Spring from 1/19/08 until 1/29/08. She moved out into the Myakka River and was observed on 2/5/08 in the Big Slough feeding on Giant Leather Ferns. Whitaker did make a trip south to Boca Grande and was observed possibly feeding on 2/7/08 on the grass flats. She traveled back into Warm Mineral Spring on 2/13/08 and made many trips back and forth between the spring and Big Slough throughout the rest of February. She was almost always with other animals and definitely likes to socialize. Whitaker traveled out of the Myakka River and down to the west wall of Charlotte Harbor on 3/7/08 but returned with the onset of the cold weather on 3/9/08 to the Big Slough.
We caught a tagged animal for a final health assessment that we believed had been Whitaker. But when we read her PIT tag numbers, it became apparent we did not have Whitaker. PIT ID’s matched PGB….yeah PGB. If you recall, we have not seen PGB since she lost her tag on 06/06/07 but we have been able to pick up her belt frequency from our sonic buoy off Boca Grande from time to time. Intriguing minds I am sure are asking “how did we mistake PGB for Whitaker?” Well, here is how it went. As you will recall, a belted animal was retagged on 01/08/08 in Warm Mineral Spring. No freezebrands could be identified and the new scar patterns on the animal did not match any of our belted animals (but then again, they were new scars). The belt was red and had exposed webbing of approximately three inches on the right and unfortunately the sonic was not working. The only animal in our records with a belt visible description as described was Whitaker. PGB’s belt description was red but the amount of exposed webbing and side placement was unknown due to the lack of recording of this info upon release. Plus, PGB’s belt had been working so we just assumed a no working belt must be Whitaker…our mistake. So that is how the mistake happened. Great news that we have second year information on PGB but that unfortunately means we have no idea where or how Whitaker is doing. Now, on with the normal final health assessment info….
Data map is currently not present for Whitaker.