SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Video captured over Mother’s Day weekend shows marine biologists and law enforcement working side by side to save a pregnant manatee.
Officials received a call about a distressed manatee near Harbor Towers Yacht & Racquet Club on Siesta Key. The caller said that the manatee was exhibiting abnormal behavior.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Stranding Biologist Jess Blackburn and Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol Officer Michael Skinner were the first to the scene.
“Immediately, I noticed that the manatee was listing to one side, and had both healed and fresh boat strike wounds,” said Blackburn. “Those kinds of wounds likely caused air to be trapped in the manatee’s chest cavity, making it difficult for the animal to submerge efficiently. Given the busy area and heavy boat traffic, we knew it would be very difficult for her to avoid any other potential boat collisions.”
Fish and Wildlife officials came to the rescue and managed to get the 1,700 pound mama (and baby) safely onboard their vessel. The manatee was transported to SeaWorld Orlando, one of four critical care facilities for manatees in the state of Florida and a member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).
And in a perfect full-circle ending, the mother gave birth to her new baby Tuesday morning!
SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation team continues to monitor both mother and calf around the clock. The mother manatee is being treated for her injuries, and although stable, she is still in critical condition.