MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Under sunny South Florida skies, a volunteer park ranger at Biscayne National Park had a moment with a manatee—and the encounter was captured on a GoPro.
Michael Cugno, who happens to be the father of CBS4’s Mike Cugno, is a volunteer park ranger who gives kayak tours at the park.
While on his kayak, about two weeks ago, Cugno had a run-in with a sea cow.
Cugno’s decision to document the encounter with a GoPro makes for a sweet five-minute video with the gentle mammal.
The manatee, which Cugno estimates is about 7 or 8 feet long and weighs between 600 and 800 pounds, is seen swimming around the kayak.
At one point in the video, which was taken outside Homestead Bayfront Park, the manatee—perhaps curious—nudges the front of the kayak.
The manatee wades around the kayak for a bit before swimming away.
The Florida manatee, Florida’s state marine mammal, is a large aquatic relative of the elephant, according to Defenders of Wildlife.
Manatees are known for their slow-moving nature and often body surf or barrel roll when playing. They normally rest and feed often.
There is no precise census of Florida manatees, but according to Defenders of Wildlife, today’s population is estimated at approximately 5,000.