Young manatee found stranded on Bunche Beach showed signs of red tide

Reporter: Nicole Gabe
Published: Updated:
Manatee stranded on Bunche Beach (Credit: Roger Gibson)

It’s a heartbreaking sight. Crews rushed to save the life of a manatee that washed up on Bunche Beach Tuesday morning.

In the last few hours, we learned from the FWC that the animal likely shows signs of red tide.

It’s a sight that many on the beach don’t expect to see.

Before help arrived, people covered the manatee with a towel and did all they could to help.

Steve Moore is a regular at Bunche Beach. He says he’s seen many things along the shore, but never anything like this.

Early this morning, walkers spotted a 7 foot male manatee stranded along the beach.

“They called the county and the county guys were down here earlier in the morning and they found it and kept it moist and wet until the FWC guys got down here,” said Rodger Gibson who was at the beach when the manatee was found.

Time was an important factor in trying to save it. Beachgoers grabbed buckets of water, eventually carrying the manatee to FWC’s Marine Mammal Rescue truck.

“Everybody was concerned just to keep it wet, keep it wet, keep it wet,” said Moore.

“I thought it was very interesting to see how everybody jumps in together to help and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Gail Lee, who helped get the manatee to safety.

Moore called it a unique experience and he’s glad he could help. “It was real precious,” he said.

The manatee will get rehab at Sea World in Orlando.

FWC says it showed signs of red tide while being examined by staff, but we don’t have a definitive answer on why it beached itself.

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