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Manatees rescued after Hurricane Irma left them stranded on Florida beach

Manatees rescued after Hurricane Irma left them stranded on Florida beach

The viral Facebook post has more than 96,000 likes and 68,000 shares.

Hurricane Irma has already claimed at least four lives, as it batters Florida, having earlier killed 28 people in the Caribbean.

It was only when local Michael Sechler went out for a walk that the manatees were noticed - and a rescue operation soon got under way.

The manatees were spotted in an area that is usually filled with water.

Intrigued, Marcelo Clavijo and several friends went out for a drive to take in the unusual sight of an empty bay.

Two manatees are rescued from Sarasota Bay when the water receded
Two manatees are rescued from Sarasota Bay when the water receded

The animals were in "knee-deep mud" when Marcelo Clavijo's group discovered them Sunday afternoon.

Dave Bristow, a public information officer for the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, tells NPR that it was "a bit of a lull" for law enforcement as the department waited for the hurricane to arrive. "It's not like you can nudge these guys over".

Nadia Gordon, a marine mammal biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Bradenton Herald that while the commission has received several reports of beached manatees, they are "not actually intervening at this point". "We just let nature take its course".

As a result, two manatees found themselves stranded on now-dry land just north of Sarasota. Hurricane Irma's winds and low tide have pushed the water unusually far from its normal position. But once the eye passes and the wind reverses, the water will rush back in.

It's a phenomenon sometimes called "hurricane bulge".




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