Florida deputies keep ‘exhausted’ head of manatee above water for two hours to prevent it from drowning during a red tide
- Officers had to be called to reports of a manatee floating on the surface of the water near St. Petersburg, Florida
- The animal floated on the surface with labored breathing, trying to stay away from a red tide
- Two police officers jumped into the water after arriving at the scene and helped the animal to keep its head above water for two hours
Two Florida delegates held the head of an exhausted manatee above water for two hours to prevent it from drowning during a red tide.
The mammal desperately tried to beach itself on the rocks of the Shell Key Preserve outside St. Petersburg, Florida, so it wouldn’t drown.
After failing to make it off the rocks, the large animal had to resort to floating on the surface with labored breathing.
An onlooker saw the animal and, concerned for its safety, called the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
After arriving at the scene, Deputy Sheriff Jill Constant said she watched the animal refuse to submerge and decided to jump in.
The two officers quickly jumped to the rescue of the manatee, who had been feeling the effects of red tide
According to biologists, the manatee would have fully recovered from being caught in the red tide
According to the sheriff’s office, the animal was suffering from the effects of the toxins produced by a red tide.
Deputy Sheriff Constant said, “We’re watching it and it won’t go under. It just stayed on the surface with labored breathing.
“We moored the boat, I took off my gear and got in. We stayed head up in the water for two hours until he could be rescued.”
Despite the efforts of the officers to save the animal, it was not very pleased and after regaining its strength, it began to lash out at the deputies.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists, the manatee has fully recovered from the red tide entanglement.
Red Tide is a naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by blooming algae in warm water, which causes domoic acid poisoning in animals, which can be fatal.
Red Tide is a naturally occurring neurotoxin produced by blooming algae in warm water, causing the animals to contract domoic acid poisoning, which can be fatal
In the first few weeks of June alone, more than 60 dolphins and hundreds of sea lions are estimated to have died from the algae. Pictured: Sea lions on a beach in Southern California
The algae is not toxic to some fish and other animals low in the food chain, but can cause major problems for marine mammals that eat these small animals.
There are only about 13,000 West Indian manatees left in the world, with about 6-7,000 living in Florida. In 2022, some 1,000 of them died from boat strikes, tidal waves or starvation from habitat destruction.
In California, the red tide washes dozens of sea lions and dolphins on southern beaches.
Shocking photos and videos show the ocean mammals lying on the sand on beaches all over Southern California, poisoned by the poisonous bloom.
Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute officials said they were “inundated” with calls about sick sea lions, dolphins and seals in June.
“We receive 30-60 calls per hour and respond to more than 30 animals per day,” said CIMWI Director Sam Dover.