News

First Successful Manatee Rescue of the Season at Blue Spring 

A side-view of a manatee with scarring on his flipper from an entanglement
In early November, a volunteer noticed that a juvenile manatee's flipper was completely swollen due to entanglement.

By Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate

Manatee season at Blue Spring started with a successful manatee rescue. A few days prior to the official start of the season, one of the manatee observer volunteers alerted park staff about a juvenile manatee with a flipper entanglement. The manatee was immediately reported to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and researchers from Save the Manatee Club and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute tried their best to get visuals on the manatee as well as photos and video. Unfortunately, they were able to confirm that the manatee indeed had an entangled flipper that was very swollen, and he was not using the flipper at all.

The decision was made to intervene before more manatees would start arriving for the season, which always makes rescue attempts extremely difficult. On Tuesday, November 21, a crew from FWC, SeaWorld, Volusia County, and Save the Manatee Club captured the 7-foot subadult male manatee in the spring run and transported him to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation. The dedicated team of vets and animal caretakers at SeaWorld is currently providing treatment for the flipper and hoping to release the manatee back into Blue Spring as soon as possible.

This serves as a good reminder to always recycle your trash and fishing line, so manatees and other wildlife do not entangle in the debris. Manatees oftentimes entangle their flippers or ingest items when they are pec-walking along the bottom of the water or feeding on submerged or floating vegetation. You can make a difference by recycling fishing line in appropriate bins, picking up trash, and participating in a local cleanup event.

We want to thank everyone who helped with this successful rescue just two days prior to Thanksgiving!

All activities conducted under permits #MA770191, #MA791721-6, DEP #02042213

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