TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature has secured an additional state-funded grant for manatee rescue and rehabilitation efforts at a new facility.

The grant money was appropriated through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), to be used for emergency transportation, veterinary lab equipment, and renovation of the museum’s newly-leased manatee facility in Myakka City. 

“The second funding award we received will help us purchase much needed equipment for transport, manatee handling and care, and veterinarian equipment to help with manatee illness and injury diagnosis and treatment,” said Virginia Edmonds, Director of Animal Service at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, “Being able to expand The Bishop’s involvement in the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership through additional second stage manatee holding and acute care space is a commitment to manatees, manatee conservation, and our rescue and rehabilitation partners that we are grateful to support and participate in.”

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature was a founding member of the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership in 2001.

The expansion of the museum was announced in July.

According to the Bishop, the overall capacity of the statewide manatee care network could be increased by 10%.

The museum hopes to have the facility operational by the end of 2022.

According to FWC, a total of 705 manatees have died in Florida as of Sept. 30.