FORT MYERS (CBSMiami/AP) — A female manatee, which was the victim of a boat strike, is in critical condition in Tampa after being rescued near Fort Myers Beach.
The 1,000 pound sea cow was rescued by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation biologists on Saturday and transported to Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park.
According to FWC biologists, the manatee suffered blunt force injuries when she collided with a boat propeller.
Zoo Tampa officials said the manatee was being “monitored closely” in a critical care pool at the zoo and is “considered stable.”
So far this year, there have been 420 manatee fatalities reported. The FWC recorded 606 manatee deaths, in total, for last year.
FWC reminds beachgoers, boaters and the public to keep their distance from manatees in Florida waters.
Guidelines for boaters to avoid striking manatees are to follow posted manatee zones while boating, wear polarized sunglasses to help spot manatees, look for large circles on the water (also known as manatee footprints) indicating the presence of a manatee below. Other clues for spotting manatees, which tend to stay in shallow water, is to look for a snout sticking up out of the water.
The FWC responds to reports of distressed manatees by investigating reports from the public and performs rescues for creatures in need of intervention. Call FWC’s Wildlife Alert hotline: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)