Four days after Hurricane Irma caused floods and power outages, The Hernando Sun spoke to Andy Garrett, Manatee Rescue Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).
On St. Patrick’s Day, last year, a female manatee with a watercraft injury and her two-year old calf were rescued in Tarpon Springs. Both were taken to Lowry Park Zoo, so the injured mom could be treated for her injuries. After her recovery, both were microchipped, then Shamrock and her calf, Emerald were released together into the open water.
Her previous experience is how the members of the rescue operation were able to recognize Shamrock when she was found stranded after hurricane Irma’s visit. Somehow, she got stranded in a roadside canal that was landlocked, possibly by swimming across a road under water, due to flooding.
Shamrock was by herself this time. After being checked over by the FWC experts, she was found to be in good health, and in no apparent distress, so further treatment wasn’t necessary. She was brought back to open water.
Emerald, who was weaned last summer, is presumed to be living on her own, and hopefully not getting into too much aquatic trouble.
Mr. Garrett mentioned that he learned from colleagues in Melbourne, that six manatees were rescued from a backyard pond. All of the east coast manatees were being assessed at the time of this interview.
“Manatees, when the water level goes up, often like to explore, especially if it’s in an area they haven’t been in before,” said Mr. Garrett “They get caught when the water starts to recede.”
Gina Lonati and Mike Dunn of the FWC assisted with rescue. Kevin Brown, who spotted the Manatee in the canal and called FWC, was unavailable for comment.
The FWC relies on the public to alert them to stranded or injured animals. If you see such a situation,
please call Wildlife Alert at 888-404-3922.
Alice Mary Herden contributed to this report.