Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
World | By Carl Welch

Manatees rescued by Florida locals after Hurricane Irma leaves them stranded

Manatees rescued by Florida locals after Hurricane Irma leaves them stranded

Florida rescue workers and a group of residents helped save two manatees who were left stranded on Sunday after Hurricane Irma caused water to drain from the Sarasota Bay.

But it turns out the manatees didn't need the storm surge after all.

A full-grown manatee can weigh in the neighborhood of 1,000 pounds, so moving one is no small task.

They ended up at a bay on Whitfield Avenue and US 41 in Sarasota where the water had receded leading the local wildlife stranded.

Michael Sechler wrote of how he had to call in for help after seeing the creatures as they were too heavy to move back out to deeper water.

A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter

The group of friends used tarps to try to move the animals back into the water.

Marcelo Clavijo said he was out for a drive because he was going "stir crazy" sitting at home, when he stopped by the bay and spotted the beached sea cows. He wrote on Facebook that he came across the animals near Whitfield, north of Sarasota. He saw the water had receded and saw two manatees on the flats.

Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with FWC, said the commission has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county, according to the Bradenton Herald.

"By this time, people should have already completed most of their preparations and gotten out of the way", said Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane. "Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times".

"It shows what people can do when they come together".

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