Florida rescue workers and a group of residents helped save two manatees that were left stranded on Sunday after Hurricane Irma caused water to drain from Sarasota Bay.
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Michael Sechler, who shared images of the stuck animals on Facebook, said he noticed them suffering while he and a group of friends were driving near the bay in Manatee County.
“One wasn’t moving, the other was breathing and had water in its eyes,” Sechler said in a Facebook post. “My friends and I couldn’t move these massive animals ourselves, and we called every service we could think of, but no one answered.”
Another Facebook user, Marcelo Clavijo, later said that he and two Manatee County sheriff’s deputies helped move the manatees about 100 yards closer to the water.
Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said that the office has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county but that it isn’t intervening.
“We’re not actually intervening at this point,” Gordon told the local newspaper Bradenton Herald. “Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times.”
However, he said the commission is worried that the manatees could end up in areas where they naturally wouldn’t once the tide comes back, but he doesn’t think they will get injured.
“We just let nature take its course,” Gordon said.