A rehabilitated manatee was spotted in the wild recently. She was released seven years ago after being seriously injured by a boat. Experts say reports boaters need to keep watch for manatees on the move this winter.
The manatee’s name is ‘Illusion.’ She was nursed back to health at Miami Seaquarium and the Cincinnati Zoo before being released. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was surveying near Vero Beach when biologists recognized Illusion from her unique scar pattern. Winter can be a dangerous time for manatees, who are often killed by boats as they migrate to warm water. The Commission’s Ron Mezich says boaters should drive slowly to protect the species and call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline if they see an injured manatee.
“That call will go to our law enforcement dispatch, we’ll call our field station staff, and they are prepared to respond to manatees in distress,” he says.
Mezich reports this year many boaters called the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline to report manatees injured due to Red Tide.
“Residents calling in have helped in the rescue of 15 manatees that were taken care of and will be released. So eyes on the water are really helpful to us,” he says. November is Manatee Awareness Month.