Society

Florida Beachgoers Rescue Stranded Manatee (Video)

| by Emily Smith

A stranded female manatee was lifted back into the ocean by concerned beachgoers Wednesday afternoon after she beached herself.

The manatee was stranded about three-quarters of a mile from the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse on Disappearing Island in Florida. 

Immediately after she was discovered, a crowd of beachgoers jumped to the manatee's aid by providing her fresh oxygen from a scuba tank and water to keep moist.

Though it's not unusual for manatees to beach themselves during mating season, this particular manatee was exhausted and eventually needed the aid of volunteers to help her back to the water.

By 2:30 p.m., a group of biologists from Florida Fish and Wildlife arrived on the scene. With the help of volunteers, the scientists tagged and inspected the animal, then lifted her back into the ocean in a stretcher. 

"Tagging manatees is important, so if it strands again, or even at some point she were to die, we are able to scan that tag and find out who she is and where she has been," biologist Rachel Cimino said. "It helps us with life histories and where these manatees actually travel to."

It took more than a dozen people to return the manatee to the water.

"It was just an awesome sight to see people out there taking time out of their day," WESH 2 reporter Greg Fox said. "They see that the animal is in distress and jump in immediately to try to do what they can to help."

Anyone who sees injured or sick wildlife in Florida is asked not to touch the animal, but to aid it by calling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation hotline.

Sources: WESH, The Huffington Post