Wildlife Officials Rescue Young Manatee Stranded on Dirt Road

The juvenile is being rehabilitated at SeaWorld Orlando.

Wildlife officials came to the rescue of a young manatee that found himself stranded on the side of a dirt road after a storm passed through Crystal River, Florida, last week.

So, how did a manatee end up on the side of the road?

Split image of baby Florida Manatee
Ai Angel Gentel/Getty Images

"Heavy rain and winds related to a passing cold front came through early that morning during a high tide, which likely flooded King's Bay near the West Roy Thomas Road area giving the manatee access to the road," FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute explained on Facebook. "When the water receded, the manatee was stranded."

FWC volunteers covered the seven-and-a-half-foot manatee in blankets to keep him warm until rescuers arrived.

While the animal was breathing normally, an assessment revealed that he was underweight, had a healing wound on his side, and was suffering with cold stress lesions. With help from USFWS Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge Complex, staff and volunteers transported the lucky manatee to SeaWorld Orlando for further evaluation.

Brant Gabriel, the supervisor of rescue operations for the Orlando SeaWorld location, told Newsweek that the manatee they've named "Duncan" is rehabilitating well thanks to the quick action taken to rescue him.

"Thanks to their fast action, we have been able to save Duncan's life—and we have every hope of returning him into the wild soon," Gabriel said.

If you see a dead, sick, or injured manatee, you are asked to contact the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922 or by dialing #FWC on a cellphone. For more information as well as opportunities to help, visit MyFWC.com/Manatee.

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