About Palma Sola

Gender: Male
Current Tag Id:

Palma Sola is a male manatee who was rescued in 2002. He was initially taken to Lowry Park Zoo but was later transferred to the Bradenton Aquarium where he was housed as a companion for Snooty who resides there. At his release, Palma Sola weighed 670 pounds. He was subsequently brought back in for further rehabilitation and was released again in May 2004.

  1. 06/09/2013 07:58 PM
    • Palma Sola was photo documented in Jan 2012 at Warm Mineral Springs. This was an animal released in 2003 that we brought back into captivity and re-released in 2004. He went MIA when the eye of hurricane Charlie went right over his location in August 2004.  There had also been sightings of Palma Sola at Warm Mineral Springs on January 14, 2011 and January 24, 2011. He looked pretty good!

  2. 04/20/2011 08:47 PM
    • August 18, 2004 (Kat Frisch, FWC):
      Tom Pitchford and I just returned from flying a three hour survey of the Charlotte Harbor area in search of Palma Sola. Unfortunately, there was no sign of Palma nor of any other manatees (in water or on land) in the areas he has frequented around the west wall of Charlotte Harbor. We circled the area of the tag recovery extensively but did not see anything suspicious thru the mangroves or in the marsh behind them. As Monica mentioned, the West Wall has been documented as being used regularly by manatees in the past. In addition to covering the West wall and Bull and Turtle Bays, we extended the survey to cover the perimeter of Charlotte Harbor including the northern limits (Hog Island) , the east wall, down across Pine Island and then up Sanibel and Captiva to Boca Grande. As Monica mentioned in her earlier email, the extensive mangrove areas around Charlotte Harbor were largely flattened and denuded by a combination of wind and storm surge. Visibility through the mangroves along the shoreline was considerably better than usual. However, the mangroves were already turning brown making it somewhat difficult to spot a grayish, brown manatee. In addition, there were large amounts of debris scattered throughout the survey area up into the mangrove regions. We are happy to report that we did not seen any areas with circling or roosting vultures which we felt might indicate something dead being in the vicinity. As I'm sure you all have heard, the area was severely devastated by Charley and the pictures on television do not due justice to the extent of the damage.

      To comment further on Monica's note of yesterday regarding the lack of manatees in the area: we saw only 5 manatees in the entire area and those seen were all near Sanibel. Three of the five were in the Gulf traveling along the shoreline. (Perhaps manatees seek the shelter of deeper water in the Gulf during major storms?) However, approximately 14 manatees were seen while in the Lemon Bay area (somewhat north of the hurricane path) during the transitionary portions of the flight to and from the survey area. (An extensive survey was not done of this area but observed manatees were noted.) Several dolphins were also seen. In addition, a dead dolphin was seen on the beach at Sanibel Island.

      Final note: Mote Marine graciously agreed to keep a lookout for Palma Sola and other potentially dead or stranded manatees during regularly scheduled surveys of Charlotte County later this week.

      August 17, 2004:
      Palma Sola's tag w/tether was recovered today. Tether broke at weak link. No belt or manatee was in close proximity, but human mobility in the area was extremely difficult so we could not cover much ground. Tag was recovered 40-50ft (depending on opening) from the mangrove edge of Charlotte Harbor's west "wall". The way the tag was laying indicated placement due to an outgoing tide. The tag was not lodged, no easy float in accesses (full root and old foliage debris), trees had major defoliation along with 50% down trees in the area we searched. This area does not normally have an outgoing tide unless there are way above normal tides. Current consensus is that the tether would not have broken due to mere wave action. If wave action was that forceful, then the belt is what should have worn down from constant pull/tug of the waves and broke at it's weak link.
      Hypothesis at this point, Palma Sola w/tag was in the mangroves at some point during the hurricane. How far in??? Cannot answer that. Worse case scenario is that he broke his tag off while in the mangroves and did not make it out when the tide went. According to the maps, there is a marsh area right behind where the tag was recovered. An aerial survey is going to be flown tomorrow to make sure, to the best of our ability, Palma Sola is not in the mangroves or marsh area (or other animals for that matter). If all checks out for the land portion of the flight, a survey will be performed to note animal location while also looking for that sly belted critter. Thank you to Kat Frisch and Tom Pitchford (FWC) for being able to fly as observers for this flight in my absence.
      Side note: We sonic tracked for Palma Sola in all his previous know locations with no luck. Also, the west "wall" is a known high use area for manatees this time of the year (80 quoted seen while doing an aerial survey). We have always seen other manatees when out tracking in this area but this time, NONE. Very calm day, flat waters that even allowed us to see sharks feeding. We should have been able to see them based on the water conditions. It will be very interesting from the survey to see if there are manatees around or if the hurricane caused them to change their distribution along the west "wall". This may be the beginning of understanding what happens to a manatee population after a hurricane.

      August 5, 2004:
      Palma Sola has been a difficult animal to track over the past month. Weather, boat failure, staffing and logistical issues have made tracking him very challenging. He spends most of his time along the west side of Charlotte Harbor and about once a week travels up into Myakka River for several days. He has been seen with other animals during ever visual and has even been documented feeding over Halodule seagrass beds. During our last visual of him in Charlotte Harbor, a wild manatee came over to our boat and started rubbing on our anchor line. Palma Sola appeared to be watching and once the other animal was done rubbing, Palma Sola seemed to be investigating the rope by chewing and giving it a few rub passbys. Guess it was too much activity for him and the other animals because they soon began to bottom rest in close proximity to our boat.

  3. 04/20/2011 08:47 PM
    • May 2004:
      Palma Sola was released back into Warm Mineral Springs. Scientists will be watching him closely to see if he maintains the weight needed to remain in the wild this time around.

      October 14, 2003:
      We went out yesterday to get a visual on Palma Sola and, despite the choppy conditions, found him on the west wall outside a place called Muddy Basin (about 1/4 way south/down from the mouth of the Myakka River). We don't know if he was alone or with other manatees (although we did see other noses in the area where he was first located), but he was already traveling north when we first found him. He wasn't giving us much (2-4 good beeps every 8-10 minutes and a few weaker beeps in the meantime) but it was enough for us to locate him with the sonic and spend the next 3 hours following him north/up along the west wall to the basin just north of Cattle Dock Point (we call it the Cattle Dock Point Basin), where he began to rest. The water clarity was poor, to put it politely, so we didn't get a close look at his body. Also, he has this habit of coming to check out the boat but stays deep enough that we can see the top of the tag and antenna, but not him. Then he'll swim 100 yards away to breathe and continue on to where he wants to rest, so we have a bunch of pictures of his tag and nose. He seems to be using the area of the west wall around Muddy Basin.

      September 5, 2003:
      On September 3, staff from FWC and Lowry Park Zoo caught Palma Sola for his 6 month health assessment. The day was plagued with the potential for inclement weather (tropical depression 12/ Tropical Storm Henri) and rescue boat problems, but in the end was successful. First thing that morning, ReAnna and I tracked Palma Sola to a grass flat along the west wall of Charlotte Harbor near the mouth of the Myakka River. We watched him feeding and resting with one other manatee while the problems with the rescue boat were sorted out. The seas were calm, the sky was clear, the manatees remained in the same general area until the rescue boat was underway, at which time the wind picked up and the manatees started to travel north. We eventually relocated Palma Sola, who was still in the vicinity of one other manatee (which could be the same one from the morning or a different manatee altogether. We didn't try to identify it earlier because we didn't want to disturb the animals so that they started traveling, which they did in the end anyway). Palma Sola was caught on the first net set, along with the other manatee who we identified as "7-Track" a well known Warm Mineral Springs manatee, at 1359 hrs. 7-Track was measured, PIT tagged, and released at 1418 hrs. Palma Sola was then assessed. His straight length is now 245 cm and weight is 278.5kg. His ventrum was round and Dr. Murphy listed his overall condition as good. He is examining the blood values and will discuss the overall picture with the rehab team. Palma Sola's tracking gear was replaced with a new belt, tether, and tag and he was released back into Charlotte Harbor at 1457 hrs.

      April 24, 2003:
      Yesterday a crew from FWC/FMRI, LPZ and a visiting WT manatee Biologist from Belize captured Palma Sola in Tippecanoe Bay (near the mouth of the Myakka River in Charlotte County) for his 2 month health assessment. He was found alone and caught on the first net set at 1207 hours. He was given a complete work up- we collected a little extra blood for red tide analysis since he has been within the bloom boundary for the past 2 months but has been unaffected. A water sample was collected from this site for red tide analysis as well- today I received word that there was no Brevetoxin present in the water sample. We also collected urine and Leslie Ward did an ultrasound reading (blubber thickness was almost exactly the same as at his release). Palma Sola weighed 286 kg (= 629 lbs.) which is a weight loss of 41 lbs. since his release last February. His total straight length was 238 cm. He had no new scars and was given an "Excellent" for overall condition, so we were very pleased with his progress.

      April 4, 2003:
      I got a good visual on Palma Sola last Friday March 28. I found Palma Sola at the southern end of the West Wall of Charlotte Harbor (see attached map), east of Turtle Bay. He was with 2 other adults and a calf and all appeared to be feeding. Although Palma Sola did not allow me to approach close enough to see grass in his mouth, he was lifting his whole head out of the water, as were the other feeding manatees. He has been in this good grassbed area for several weeks now, and there are lots of other manatees in the area- Margie recently saw 27 during an aerial survey over Turtle Bay. The tag looks good and is transmitting fine. We will get back out there to see him again as soon as we can!

  4. 04/20/2011 08:46 PM
    • February 25, 2003:
      We (Katie and Mindy) finally got a visual on Igarakue (or so it seemed) and Palma Sola today in the Myakka River just south of the Charlotte/Sarasota County line! We attenuated fully on Igarakue's tag from our location and first spotted a tag at the surface at 1400hrs. We soniced the area and verified it was Igarakue by the belt code. It was difficult to see the colors of the tag due to the distance even using binoculars. While Margie was bringing me the kayak so that I could find Palma Sola who was heard just around the corner, we drove a few streets down and found him. Palma Sola was found just a few hundred yards away from Igarakue at 1430hrs. He was milling around a sunken vessel. He was very responsive to the kayak, but his response was to get the heck out of dodge. He swam away every time I got close enough to try and take a look. Finally, three boats passed and I lost sight of him... this is when I went to look for Igarakue around the corner. BUT, to my surprise, as I kayaked up to the tag, I noticed the belt, tether, and tag floating in approximately 2-3 feet of water with no manatee attached. The Mote red tide screen secured to the belt at the buckle was holding it in place in the mud. The tag appeared to be attached to something still (hence-not drifting with the current). I recovered it at 1545hrs. It appears to have been broken at the weak link in the belt webbing. No visible damage found on the tag, tether, or belt. There were at least two other manatees in the vicinity of Palma Sola and Igarakue's tag, but I could not identify either one due to poor visibility.

      February 22, 2003:
      Today Katie & I truck tracked along the Myakka. We picked up Palma Sola's VHF at 11:30am from a canal on the west side of the river- the signal was north towards the Charlotte-Sarasota County line. We then checked several other locations along the river and although we could not get a visual (limited land access and 30mph wind creating white caps!), we triangulated the signal to the north end of the grass flat at the county line, and south of the mouth of the Big Slough. For those of you not familiar with the area, this means we can place Palma Sola in a polygon about 1/4 mile long in the river. At the county line we also had very strong signals from 2 WMS tagged manatees, who we are certain were very close by (Igarakue and Argo), but again due to whitecaps, we could not see them.

      During our search we also met a citizen who told us he had a manatee with a yellow tag at his dock in the canal at Kneeland Street (there's a freshwater weir there) several days ago. We quizzed him about the tag, so we are pretty confidant that Palma Sola was sighted there (it's about 1/2 mile south of the county line).

      Thursday, February 13:
      Today at 4:40pm Palma Sola was released into Salt Creek. The move from Bradenton & release into the creek went very smoothly. By 5:39pm he had moved down the creek a bit to the corner to a manatee hangout and joined at least 11 other manatees, including two of our tagged study animals. We hope the cooler weather for the next couple nights will keep him in the creek long enough to realize that this is a good place to go when it is cold. Palma Sola is a chubby 670 lbs., and we will be keeping our eye on him!


Data map is currently not present for Palma Sola.