EMACIATED MANATEE RESCUED ON DUCK KEY

Dolphin Research Center’s Manatee Rescue Team (DRC), the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, assisted by local residents, rescued an emaciated manatee on June 10 at Duck Key. The residents had earlier spotted the manatee and reported its condition to  FWC, which asked DRC to respond. After finding the animal in a canal, the rescue team surrounded it with a long net and pulled it up concrete dock steps to land. The male manatee was approximately 8 feet long and so underweight that its rib cage was clearly visible below its skin. The rescuers first transferred the animal to a stretcher and then carried it to a FWC transport truck. FWC personnel then drove the manatee to SeaWorld in Orlando for further assessment and treatment. Its prognosis is unknown.

Rescue team members from DRC, FWC and Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters untangle and prepare the emaciated manatee for transport after rescuing him from a Duck Key canal. CONTRIBUTED

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Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.