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Floridians Come Together to Save Manatees Stranded in Mud by Hurricane Irma

12 September 2017

Two manatees stranded in the bay after Hurricane Irma pulls water away from the coastline.

Manatee County resident Marcelo Clavijo posted on Facebook he was going stir-crazy and made a decision to go for a ride when he came across a dry bay. Rescue a few manatees, naturally.

"Believe me, we tried to move them", Sechler wrote. "But between [the manatees] weighing over 500lbs and being stranded in nearly mud-like sand, we couldn't make it happen." .

A full-grown manatee can weigh in the neighborhood of 1,000 pounds, so moving one is no small task. "We were advised just to get out of the bay for our safety" before the storm waters came rushing back in.

Another person who spotted the mammals said he joined a community rescue effort in which several people eventually rolled the manatees onto tarps and then dragged them about 100 yards into the water.

A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter
A line of evacuees wait for food at the Braden River High School emergency shelter

Winds carried by Irma caused waters in that area to recede completely, leaving the manatee and another one beached on a muddy patch of grass surrounded by shallow puddles. "We just let nature take its course". So they turned to social media.

The viral Facebook post has more than 96,000 likes and 68,000 shares.

An official with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission said the organization received multiple reports about the stranded manatees.

The Bradenton Herald said that people should not attempt to move manatees themselves because they are protected at the state and federal levels.

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Floridians Come Together to Save Manatees Stranded in Mud by Hurricane Irma