CRYSTAL RIVER , Fla., Sept. 15 (UPI) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission worked to rescue and relocate a group of six manatees that had been swept into a golf course pond during hurricane Hermine.
The FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute shared video showing the rescue of the manatees that had been stranded since Sept. 2.
“When Hurricane Hermine hit Florida’s Gulf Coast earlier this month, heavy rains produced flooding and caused several manatees to be displaced in a pond on a golf course in Crystal River,” the FWC wrote.
Terry Natwick, a spokesperson for the Plantation on Crystal River told Fox 13 the water receded too quickly for the manatees to make it back over the canal, but the pond, filled with hydrilla plants, provided a more than adequate temporary home.
“It’s like when you go on vacation and you give up your diet, that’s what they’ve been doing,” Natwick said. “They’ve been on vacation. They’re probably going to come out of here 20 pounds heavier because they probably never had this much to eat in forever, so they’re going to miss this place I think.”
Manatee expert John Spann said complications could arise in transporting the manatees, as a pair of mothers can not be separated from their calves as volunteers attempt to lure the animals and transport them on stretchers.
“There’s two big moms in here that are pushing probably 1,500 pounds,” he said. “They’ll get them on top of these big blue stretchers that are literally designed to move manatees. All around these stretchers there are handles and, literally, it’s just man-power. You get a person on every handle and you lift and walk.”