Floridians rescue stranded manatees as Irma sucks water from shores

Posted September 12, 2017

No one should try moving the manatees themselves, as they are a state and federally protected species.

Michael Sechler posted that the animals, known as sea cows, were far too massive to be lifted, so they gave them water. "We called every service we could think of, but no one answered", one member of the group writes on Facebook.

Forecasters warned gawkers to stay clear of the exposed beach, warning that at least 10 to 15-feet of a "life-threatening storm surge" could return at any moment, according to the U.S. Hurricane Center. "We were advised just to get out of the bay for our safety" before the storm waters came rushing back in.

"It was a pretty cool experience", Clavijo said in a post that has been shared more than 30,000 times.

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

Clavijo's post has gotten more than 30,000 shares and received an outpouring of praise for the rescue mission.

When helped back to deeper waters, both manatees "swam off", Clavijo told Fox 13.

"We're not actually intervening at this point", Gordon said.

However, he said the commission is anxious that the manatees could end up in areas where they naturally wouldn't once the tide comes back, but he doesn't think they will get injured.

"Normally, if we have to move a manatee, we would use a sling similar to the way you've probably seen dolphins moved", Cover says.