Rehabilitated manatee returns to the water in Matlacha

Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and SeaWorld Orlando released a rehabilitated manatee in Matlacha.

In the video above provided by WINK News viewer Daniel Droke, volunteers gathered together to cradle and move the female marine mammal back into the canal on Wednesday.

According to the FWC, the manatee was originally rescued on April 12 from Alligator Creek in Punta Gorda after a report of the sea mammal having buoyancy issues.

The manatee was 6.9 feet long when rescued and was placed under the care of SeaWorld Orlando until it was fully rehabilitated.

Locals gathered to cheer on the sea cow as it made its watery transition.

Credit: Daniel Droke

According to the FWC, the manatee is Florida’s state marine mammal and is one of the state’s imperiled species protected by federal and state laws.

The marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which makes it illegal to feed, harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, annoy or molest manatees.

The FWC also provided a list of what not to do when you encounter manatee and avoid harassment charges:

  • Give food to manatees
  • Use water to attract manatees to your boat, dock or marina (etc.) where manatees may be harmed
  • Separate a cow and her calf
  • Disturb manatee mating herds
  • Pursue manatees or chase them from warm water sites
  • Disturb resting manatees
  • Hit, injure, or harm manatees
  • Jump on, stand on, hold on to, or ride manatees
  • Grab or kick manatees
  • Block a manatee’s path if one or more moves toward you
  • Hunt or kill manatees
  • Use your vessel to pursue or harass manatees
  • “Fish” for or attempt to hook or catch manatees

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