A Letter from the CEO

Dear Zoo friends,

After extensive renovations to the David A. Straz, Jr. Manatee Critical Care Center, ZooTampa at Lowry Park is proud to again support the rescue and rehabilitation of manatees, one of Florida’s most iconic species. The Critical Care Center’s renovations included a complex energy efficient filtration system that supports the Zoo’s ability to provide life-saving support for severely injured and sickened manatees.

Under the guidance of lead manatee veterinarian, Dr. Lauren Smith, our veterinary and animal care staff are continuing our work to provide advanced, specialized medical treatment and rehabilitation for manatees that are orphaned or hurt, entangled in fishing line or suffering from cold stress. The first four manatee patients to use the renovated filtration and life-support systems were recently transported to the Zoo for continued care after being involved in boat strikes and rescued from Florida’s west coast.

We are committed to wildlife conservation both globally and locally. The Zoo's upgraded Manatee Critical Care Center is just the first phase of an ambitious plan to increase our capacity to care for a variety of threatened native Florida species. This is part of our long-term vision to protect and preserve Florida wildlife, and to inspire a greater public connection to, and responsibility for, the wildlife that call Florida home.

As we care for these and other rescued manatees, we invite you to visit ZooTampa to meet and observe these graceful, slow moving “sea cows” as they recover and rehabilitate. Once they are healthy, it’s our goal that they return to their native Florida waters.

Thanks to your generosity and continued support, ZooTampa at Lowry Park saved hundreds of manatees in the wild for nearly three decades. We are proud to continue our tradition of providing life-saving care to this treasured Florida species once again.

See you at the Zoo!


Joe Couceiro

President & CEO