Photo by SeaWorld
Great news! One of my manatee buddies suffering from cold stress, was rescued from the Savannah River at the Weyerhaeuser paper mill in Port Wentworth, Georgia. Manatees are warm-blooded and in the cold weather, we need the warm water of Florida’s springs or the warm outflow water of energy plants.
In this circumstance, my buddy got trapped in Port Wentworth because the river water beyond the paper mill was too cold for traveling back to Florida… Yikes! Mr. Chuck Hayes with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service explained manatees can get “thermally trapped.” Mr. Hayes said the water at the plant was “a balmy 67 degrees” and “just 15 feet away, it dipped to 55 degrees.” Ouch! Chuck also said, “If they hang around the outfall there’s nothing to eat. That’s one reason we wanted to get them out of there.”
SeaWorld was able to rescue the manatee with a 20-foot deep net. Once back in Orlando, Florida, my buddy got a full examination and also given fluids and antibiotics at SeaWorld’s manatee rehabilitation facility. He was just logged in at 9-feet long and his weight was 800 pounds. SeaWorld blogged that their Animal Rescue Team has “rescued 12 manatees and returned 9 to the wild.”
Florida Manatees (that’s me!) are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. We’re currently listed as “endangered” and are at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and death. Our exposure to cold stress, red tide, and other diseases are the natural challenges we face each day. The man-made issues facing us are; boat strikes, flood gates (or locks) and also getting caught and tangled up in fishing gear.
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here is a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee