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Sims Provides New Crane for ZooTampa Manatees

Crane lifting manatee

ZooTampa recently purchased a new Shuttlelift SCD09 crane for its manatee rehabilitation program, and Sims Crane was instrumental in helping choose and deliver the best model. The SCD09 replaces an old Shuttlelift 3330E that yielded exceptional service to the zoo for over 20 years. That crane was also provided by Sims Crane.

Heavy patients

The zoo admits 30 to 35 manatees into its hospital every year. These gentle sea mammals suffer habitat loss, cold stress and red tide poisoning, injuries from boats, and other threats to their livelihood. Moving them safely from transport truck to pool and later to the medical facility requires the use of a crane as manatees can weigh up to 2,000 pounds. In addition to treatment, the animals are weighed regularly to monitor their recovery. After rehab is complete and the manatee is ready to be released, the crane is needed to transfer from pool to transport truck.

Specialized transport

Each manatee is cradled in a special stretcher and carefully lifted with the crane then transported. The SCD09 is ideal for this delicate operation due to features including compact size, easy maneuverability, and three steering modes (front, four-wheel coordinated, and four-wheel crab steer). “With staff being on call 24/7 to receive stricken animals, the new 9-ton Shuttlelift SCD09 is of vital importance in ensuring timely treatment,” explained Lisa Dijenno, animal care supervisor at the zoo.

Certified staff

Since most crane operators are not likely to change careers to zookeeping, several staff members at ZooTampa have received NCCCO training and certification in crane operation. “We learned a lot on the job with the 3330E over the years, practicing without animals to begin with, but Sims Crane, our local Shuttlelift dealer, has made sure that we know everything about properly operating the crane,” Dijenno, said. “Having a wild animal on the front of a crane can be dangerous, so we usually meet as a team beforehand to discuss how we’re going to move them adequately — and what our backup plan will be if it goes wrong.”

Read all of the details at Manitowoc’s website by clicking here. Image above courtesy of Manitowoc.

The manufacturer produced a video account of this story that can be viewed here.

August 19, 2022

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