Rescued for boat strike and entanglement injuries, Electra lived the rest of her life as an ambassador for manatees everywhere.
by Ally Greco, Communications and Outreach Manager
Save the Manatee Club
Save the Manatee Club (SMC) recently received the sad news that Electra, one of our Adopt-A-Manatee® program manatees, passed away on August 4, 2020. At the time of her passing, Electra was receiving medical treatment for complications related to serious injuries she had experienced when she was first rescued.
In 1998, Electra was rescued near Titusville, Florida, for boat strike and entanglement injuries. She was estimated to be five years old at the time. The trauma from the boat strike caused spinal injuries, which created some buoyancy issues for the young manatee. There was also scar tissue on both flippers due to entanglement in a crab trap. She was brought to SeaWorld Orlando for medical treatment, then transferred to Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to be supervised by wildlife care staff. “The shallow water at Homosassa provided the need for continued swimming movement between food stations to rebuild her back, while allowing her to rest without constant movement,” explains Dr. Michael Walsh, a veterinarian who worked with Electra.
When Electra first arrived at the park, she bonded with Rosie, another resident manatee. Rosie would swim below Electra and guide her to the water’s surface to breathe until Electra could do this on her own. Due to lasting complications from her injuries, Electra was not able to be released back into the wild, so she spent the rest of her life at the park. “As with humans and other species, we should have options for those that are injured but not wanting to give up and not be able to fully function in the wild,” says Dr. Walsh.
Because of the option to remain at the park as a resident, Electra served as an ambassador for her species at the park for over 20 years, starring in the park’s education programs. She was also a beloved adoptable manatee by Save the Manatee Club members around the world. “Electra was always the example that I used when talking with visitors about boating safety. She was truly an animal ambassador for her species, and she helped to educate countless visitors throughout her life on how important speed limits are in our waterways,” said Tricia Fowler, Park Manager at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park
We can honor Electra’s memory by protecting imperiled manatees everywhere. Boat safely, keep trash and debris out of our waterways, report injured manatees to wildlife officials right away, and spread the word to help educate others. To learn more, visit our How to Help page.
Memories of Electra
Electra was a special manatee in many ways. She was so badly injured when she came to Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park that she was not expected to survive. However, Rosie, the matriarch of the resident manatees, saw to it that she did survive. Because Electra had severe buoyancy problems, it was difficult for her to rise up for breaths. Rosie would swim underneath her and lift her to the surface to breathe. Eventually Electra became stronger and no longer needed these boosts. When Rosie was reaching the end of her life, Electra was her constant companion. You would often see her resting a flipper on Rosie as she rested in her favorite corner of the spring run. Electra could be mischievous as well and sometimes managed to get in trouble when her curiosity led her astray. She was a gentle soul who will be sorely missed. I’m very grateful to have known and cared for her.— Sandy Valente, Park Volunteer
Electra was one of the animals who helped us understand their amazing capability in trying to overcome severe injuries that we may inadvertently inflict on them…Electra showed a desire to keep living and became an ambassador for the species and a valued animal to those that took care of her. She should continue to stimulate those who work on manatees to do more to help those affected and prevent others from these injuries in the first place. — Dr. Michael Walsh, Aquatic Animal Veterinarian