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FWC: Manatee rescue more harm than good

Posted at 10:25 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 08:04:58-04

NAPLES, Fla., -- Florida Fish and Wildlife Manatee experts say the group of people pushing two manatees on the beach at Clam Pass Park, could have done more harm than good. 

“The manatee was barrel rolled down the beach, we have another incident where that happened and it actually caused the manatee’s death," said Denise Boyd, a Research Associate at FWC. 

Boyd says she's the one who received the call when the manatees were found on the beach and immediately told the caller to do nothing. However, her request was ignored. 

"Pushing them back out makes a bad situation much worse. Unless a biologist can assist, the animals should not be pushed back for any reason." 

4 in your corner reached out to a couple of people in the group who were trying to help the manatee, none of them claimed to have the knowledge they were not supposed to push the manatee back into the water. Boyd explains female manatees often beach themselves during mating season in order to rest. 

“For the female, when tired or to get the mating to stop, a strategy is to ground herself in shallow water," said Boyd. 

Fox 4 asked why it took two and half hours for law enforcement or someone from FWC to show up to the beach. 

Boyd said, "there was no manatee to show up to." 

FWC will not press charges against the group because they believe their actions were "well-intentioned." Nevertheless, they want to inform the public how best to handle these situations and that helping a manatee puts humans in danger as well. Boyd tells Fox 4, there have been cases where marine biologists have been injured from the animals.