“A Manatee Moment” Update

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Tracy Colson with one of the Club's boating banners aboard her kayak on Kings Bay in Crystal River, Florida. (Photo by Steve Sapienza.)

Tracy Colson with a  boating banner aboard her kayak on Kings Bay in Crystal River, Florida. (Photo by Steve Sapienza.)

Aquariverse is glad to bring you an update  regarding the Manatee mother and calf featured in our recent “A Manatee Moment” post.

Every see a manatee smile? This is a happy update.  photo: sarasotamagazine.com

Every see a manatee smile? This is a happy update.
photo: sarasotamagazine.com

Dolphin Research Center Director of Media & Marketing Mary Stella has confirmed, “Thankfully, this manatee’s boat strike did not appear life threatening.  It wasn’t preventing the mom from feeding, moving, caring for her baby, and doing other normal manatee behavior.  That’s all good.”

Normal behavior as depicted in this U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service footage:

Meanwhile, back in the Florida Keys, Stella’s confirmation provides an opportunity to correct and clarify some of the concerns expressed by those who had discovered the manatee nursing her injuries, and her calf, near the dock of  Marathon, Florida’s Coconut Cay resort canal the second week of March 2014.

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Soon after dawn on March 13, a half dozen guests snapped pictures and fretted over the fate of the manatees… that of the mother in particular, as her back showed signs of fresh propeller injuries and a painful looking swelling.

A large gash with visible swelling on the back of the mother manatee. photo: Felicity

A large gash with visible swelling on the back of the mother manatee. photo: Felicity

One of the guests reported having called the  1-888-404-3922  manatee help line posted in the resort’s office, adding, “The vet come right out and gave her an antibiotic injection.”

Stella clarified, “We did respond to a call about that manatee and team members arrived to assess the animal’s condition. “However,” she corrected, “no antibiotic injection was administered by us on scene.”

As to the guests’ belief regarding follow-up checks continuing as long as necessary…

Stella added, “A DRC team member also paid another visit on another day to check on the animal.  We will continue to check out her condition when she’s reported so, yes, that’s true we’d go out every day if needed.”

But the concerned guests also worried the pair would be separated if a rescue crew decided the wounded mother had to be removed to a care facility for  more extensive treatment.

Correcting more dockside murmurings, Stella noted, “We do not bring them to Dolphin Research Center.  We are the only licensed manatee rescue team in the Florida Keys.  We respond to animals throughout the island chain.”

 

A previous rescue: Photo: Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida, www.dolphins.org

A previous rescue:
Photo: Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida, http://www.dolphins.org

She added, “Unfortunately, we’re not equipped to provide long-range treatment.  There are other facilities in Florida that provide that care including Miami Seaquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, and SeaWorld Orlando.”

Addressing the guests’ concern that mother and calf could be separated if the mother’s condition didn’t markedly improve…

Manatee calf surfacing just enough for  breather from all the fuss... photo: Felicity

Manatee calf surfacing just enough for breather from all the fuss… photo: Felicity

 

Stella said, “When a mother manatee has a dependent calf, you really don’t want to have to pull them from the water unless it is absolutely necessary for the mother manatee.  Regardless that our intent is to help, rescues are still stressful for the animals. Sadly, these boat hits happen all too often. Some cause injuries that do necessitate rescues.”

A previous manatee calf rescue: Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida, www.dolphins.org

A previous manatee calf rescue:
Dolphin Research Center, Grassy Key, Florida, http://www.dolphins.org

Stella reiterated those who find a manatee in distress in Florida should call: 1-888-404-3922.  “That goes to the FWC who is ultimately responsible for overseeing manatees in this state.”

She continued, “Although we are licensed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services agency to assess, rescue and transport manatees that are sick, injured, orphaned or otherwise in need of help, we work in cooperation with the FWC.  When we rescue a manatee, if it is determined that it must come into a facility for additional treatment/recovery/rehabilitation, we do not bring them to Dolphin Research Center. There are other facilities in Florida that provide that care including Miami Seaquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, and SeaWorld Orlando.”

 

You can learn more about Dolphin Research Center, including information about the center’s manatee rescue activities, at www.dolphins.org. For more information about Florida’s manatees in general, please visit: www.myfwc.com.

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Felicity

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”  – Abraham Lincoln

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