We found your pet manatee. He's a little cold, confused, and thirsty, but otherwise is doing well. We'll warm him up some and then send him back home.
Officials rescue manatee - rare sight for area waters
By adriana garza Caller-Times
January 4, 2007
A team of local environmental agencies rescued an endangered manatee from the waters of Corpus Christi Bay on Wednesday.
The manatee, believed to be a juvenile about 6 feet long and weighing 600 to 800 pounds, was spotted off a Citgo dock early Wednesday morning, said Citgo spokesman Jesse Garcia.
Manatees, typically found in Florida, aren't a common sight in the Coastal Bend.
"This is an animal that needs warm water and access to fresh water," said Allan Strand, field supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in South Texas.
This manatee's search for an oasis of warm water in the bay's 59-degree waters led it to an outflow area near Citgo's Dock, where water is about 75 degrees.
Environmental officials and Citgo representatives spent hours observing the animal, while a team of rescuers devised a plan for removing the mammal from the water to take it to the Texas State Aquarium's Sea Lab.
Tom Schmid, aquarium CEO, said the animal was thought to be underweight. It was moving slower than usual, and remained in one area of the bay, its nostrils poking out of the water at times.
It took rescuers about 20 minutes to hoist the manatee out of the water using a special net and a crane from Citgo. Once at Sea Lab, the manatee will be monitored for 24 hours for the first few days. When rehabilitation is complete, it will be transferred to Florida.
The aquarium never has rehabilitated a manatee, Schimd said.
"It would be similar to other marine mammals' rehabilitation efforts we've done," he said.
Strand said the department has seen two to three manatees in Coastal Bend waters every year for six years, but hadn't had to rescue any. Officials aren't sure why manatees appear off the Texas coast, Strand said.
"We're pretty hands-off as long as they are doing well," Strand said.
Strand said a veterinarian from the Texas State Aquarium observed the manatee in the bay.
"It looks like it's not in very good condition," Strand said.
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