CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. — A manatee is recovering after it became stranded alongside a road Wednesday in Crystal River.
Florida Fish and Wildlife says it was called to a road in Crystal River about a manatee stranded on dry land after a storm passed through.
The FWC says the sea cow likely swam near the road during high tide and when the waters receded it became stuck.
The team says the manatee is a juvenile male. In addition to being stranded, the manatee was underweight and had a healing wound on his side along with cold stress lesions along his body, FWC says.
Because of his condition, he was taken to SeaWorld for evaluation and rehabilitation.
The FWC says if you see an injured, distressed, sick or dead marine mammal, call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.
From Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 10, 2021, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission documented the deaths of 1,056 manatees. In 2020, FWC reported 558 manatee deaths and 527 in 2019. The increased amount of deaths in 2021 is alarming to conservation groups.
Pollution-fueled algae blooms are cited as the cause of about half of 2021's manatee deaths in Florida.
The FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a supplemental feeding plan for the starving manatees at Indian River Lagoon.
The FWC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered together in November to combat the Unusual Mortality Event (UME) of manatees.
According to officials, the joint team will streamline the response to the crisis and ensure first responders can quickly get the resources they need to help the animals.