• Officials work to rescue distressed manatee in Merritt Island

    By: Chip Skambis


    MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is asking boaters in Merritt Island to look out for an injured manatee who may have a punctured lung. 

    Officials worked to rescue the distressed manatee at Manatee Cove Park on North Tropical Trail shortly before noon, Brevard County Animal Rescue said. 

    Photos: Officials work to rescue distressed manatee in Merritt Island

    FWC said the 10-feet, 1,000 pound manatee was likely struck by a boat. 

    A vacationing family on a kayak tour spotted a mother manatee, who was unable to submerge herself, with a calf, FWC said. 

    "It was evident something was wrong, pretty scary," said Chris Cavanah, one of the kayakers. 

    The manatee not being able to submerge is indicative of a punctured lung, according to FWC biologist Bill Greer. 

    "The lung has been punctured more than likely by a broken rib so it has some air trapped in one of the body cavities, which is why it was twisting and turning," said Greer.

    FWC, along with the Brevard Zoo and Brevard County Animal Services worked to wrangle the mother and calf, but the protective mother avoided capture. 

    Greer believes the manatee may be able to recover if she finds shallow seagrass, but if she remains unable to submerge, her injuries could become life-threatening. 

    FWC is hoping someone will report another sighting of the injured manatee. Contact them here. 




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