The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has done it again. They have saved the life of an animal that may have not survived without their help.
The baby manatee was seen without a mother south of Florida Power & Light’s Manatee Lagoon for several days, according to The Palm Beach Post.
On Friday, the Commission rescued the little manatee with the assistance of lagoon staff.
Workers at the lagoon became worried on Wednesday, Feb. 6 when they saw the baby manatee all alone.
On Feb. 7, things got progressively worse. Lagoon staff notices sores on the calf’s nose and tail that are telltale signs of cold stress.
“As soon as everyone came to work (Friday) we were pacing up and down the sea wall looking to see if we could see it and sure enough, the calf was back,” Sarah Marmion told The Palm Beach Post.
“We couldn’t see any obvious propeller scars but we could see the sores,” she added.
The male manatee calf was rescued in a beach area just south of the lagoon, where it was netted and brought to shore.
Manatees are known to flock to the lagoon in the winter because of its warm water. Over the years, manatees would gather at the site where warm water is discharged from the turbines at the facility.
Florida manatees are particularly susceptible to cold as they have little body fat to keep them warm, despite weighing more than 1,000 pounds.
Marmion told The Palm Beach Post that the baby manatee they rescued weighed about 100 pounds and was 5 feet long.
People regularly gather at the site from all around to see the manatees up close, but after 9/11, the site became restricted. It was finally reopened when a new center was built three years ago.
In addition to the lagoon staff and the Commission, three Maryland tourists also pitched in to help with the rescue.
The rescue of the baby manatee was a first at the lagoon facility; however there have been many rescues in the area well before the facility opened.
“It was thrilling and we’re so glad to be part of it,” Marmion told The Palm Beach Post. “Our team is so passionate in what we do and to be part of a rescue was really awesome.”
The Commission took the baby manatee to the Miami Seaquarium, where Marmion said it will stay for a year.
“The best way to connect people to these animals is to see them and learn their stories and now we are completely attached to this manatee’s life and future,” Marmion said.
While the manatee calf doesn’t have a name just yet, Marmion told The Palm Beach Post that the lagoon team hopes to get in on naming him.
They have suggested he be named Lagoona Split as dessert-themed names are being used this year.
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