On Tuesday, a manatee named “Dually” was rescued at San Pedro Lake on Plantation Key. According to eyewitnesses and responders, the manatee had both flippers and her tail entangled with fishing line and a bunch of other debris. FWC had been trying to capture Dually for some time because they noticed her entanglements, Adam Blanco, a resident on San Pedro Lake, told The Weekly.
Dually is actually a long-time field of Dolphin Research Center’s (DRC) manatee rescue team. Known as a “serial entangler”, Dually is a large, 11-foot long female whom DRC has assisted multiple times over the last 20 plus years for severe monofilament fishing line entanglements around both of her pectoral flippers. The manatee is approximately 25 yrs old, 1200lbs, 7 months pregnant.
Personnel from DRC, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Miami Seaquarium (MSQ) and Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responders (DPMMR) combined efforts to surround Dually with a net and bring her onto land for treatment.
The capture, rescue, surgery and release took all day. Miami Seaquarium veterinarian Dr. Maya Rodriguez performed a thorough examination, including an ultrasound that revealed the manatee is approximately seven months pregnant. After the veterinarian carefully removed large amounts of accumulated line from both of Dually’s flippers and disinfected the injuries, the rescue teams carried her back into the water and released her.
She is expected to heal and give birth in the near future.
This single animal’s plight, the afternoon before the world celebrates Earth Day, is a stunning reminder of the need for mankind to be vigilant in our conservation practices. DRC has assisted countless manatees over the years who suffered from severe entanglement in discarded fishing line and other forms of marine debris. We must all do better to protect all marine life and the environment in which they live.