CLEARWATER, Fla. — An injured, 2,000-pound female manatee was rescued from the water near Douglas Road in Clearwater on Friday thanks to crews from FWC and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.
FWC said the injury, which appears to be from a watercraft weeks or months ago, became infected.
Officials also said three male manatees created a mating herd with the injured female, which created challenges for the rescue team.
John Shifflette was among those calling for help.
"When we saw there was an injury on it we didn't know what to do, so as soon as we realized we needed to do something we called as many people as we could," he said.
Luckily, the team was able to quickly pull the injured female manatee from the water and get her loaded onto a CMA rescue truck.
The mating herd did, however, make rescue efforts more challenging.
"Every rescue's different," said Andy Garett, FWC Manatee Rescue Coordinator. "Having the males around and trying to get them out of the net while we're trying to catch her, you know those are challenges, obviously not knowing what else is out then when we're setting a net. But it all went really well with our partners."
CMA took the injured manatee to ZooTampa for treatment.
The manatee has multiple wounds and scars and abnormal buoyancy, leading to concerns of possible lung trauma.
Her prognosis is guarded and she was being monitored closely.
Those involved with the rescue are hoping for a recovery.
"It's such a beautiful creature, so to see so many people care for it, it's awesome," said Sharon Shifflette.