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Manatee rescued from side of the road near Crystal River

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:25 PM EST
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CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WWSB) - A young manatee had to be rescued from the side of a dirt road in Citrus County after receding waters left him stranded.

Early Monday, The Florida Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory Manatee Rescue team received a report of a manatee that was stranded on the side of West Roy Thomas Road in Crystal River.

Recent rains from a cold front, combined with a high tide, led to flooding in King’s Bay, allowing the young male manatee access to the road. When the waters receded, the manatee was unable to escape and became beached.

The team from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex and other volunteers covered the manatee in blankets to ensure that he stayed warm. They loaded the seven-and-a-half-foot manatee into a truck to transport him to SeaWorld in Orlando for further evaluation and rehabilitation.

According to a post on the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Facebook page, a biologist noted the manatee was “underweight and had a healing wound on its side along with cold stress lesions on the animal’s body.” However, at the time of the rescue, “the juvenile male manatee was breathing normally.”

The FWC urges everyone to report an injured, distressed, sick, or dead marine mammal to their Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922). Press 7 to speak with an operator.

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