Storm victims help save manatees stranded by Hurricane Irma

Marie Harrington
September 12, 2017

Several good Samaritans jumped into action after Irma sucked the water from Sarasota Bay leaving several manatees stranded and in need of help. Michael Sechler posted that the animals were far too massive to be lifted, so the rescuers gave them water.

A few residents in the area came to the rescue, placing them on a large green tarp and pulling them more than 100 yards back into the water.

Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said his office has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county, but it isn't intervening.

A pair of manatees apparently were also caught off guard and found themselves stranded by the rapid retreat of waters in the bay.

Faradini-Campos wrote on Facebook that the manatees were successfully moved to deeper water.

Marcelo Clavijo posted video and photos on Facebook describing the scene.

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

"Normally, if we have to move a manatee, we would use a sling similar to the way you've probably seen dolphins moved", Cover says.

"We just let nature take its course", she said.

The 'tees reportedly "swam off" once they were back in the ocean and hopefully have a strong enough constitution to shake off such a harrowing experience.

Manatees are protected under federal and Florida law, which states that "it is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass or disturb any manatee".

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

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