If you saw a manatee stranded in shallow waters, what would you do?
“If you see a person who is injured, you’re going to call 911. We’re kind of like the marine mammal paramedics. So if you see a distressed marine mammal, immediately call us,” said Hada Herring, a marine research biologist with FWC.
Lucky for this 10 1/2 foot lady manatee, a special someone did just that.
“The call was actually made by one of our FWC biologist who studies shorebirds in the area, and it was perfect. She knew exactly what to do. She called the hotline,” Herring said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife went right to Marco Island to keep that stranded manatee alive.
“We know from the past that Tigertail Lagoon could be a bit of a troublemaker. Sometimes, manatees will go in there at high tide and forget to come out so they may get stuck,” Herring said.
And the team that rescued the manatee — “We are five women biologists that are responsible for responding to distress for animals in 10 counties,” Herring said.
After making sure that she was safe, FWC collected data and took photos of the manatee.
“The waters came up enough for her to start army crawling out into deeper waters and then she swam off! Really that was just the best ending to the story. It is really such incredible team effort, so many people involved and it all started with that phone call,” Herring said.
A call anyone can make.
That impressive team says they hope this reminds people what can happen when you call the wildlife alert hotline — a life saved. And one more reminder: never push stranded marine mammals back into the water. They usually need help immediately.
The number for FWC’s Wildlife Hotline is 888-404-FWCC (3922).