Witnesses watch manatee give birth on Earth Day in Westshore district

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A local man and others were witness to a miracle on Earth Day, as a West Indian manatee gave birth right in front of them on Thursday.

Jeff Wysocki shot two videos of the manatee after it was born around 9:40 a.m. at the Town Westshore Apartments on Bridge Street in Tampa. He posted them to the “We Love South of Gandy” Facebook page.

He spoke to WFLA’s Daisy Ruth by phone to talk about the experience.

Wysocki said on his morning walk, he initially thought it was a dolphin in distress.

“I’ve never seen a manatee move that fast,” Wysocki said.

After a few minutes, that’s when he saw the baby manatee pop its head out of the water and start “zooming around.”

“That when we saw the little baby manatee just going across the water in a circle like that. It was so much fun,” he said.

“And then the mother came up and you could see that she had just given birth, there was still [remnants of the birth] there. She just quickly went to the baby and started to bring it up to the surface,” he explained.

Wysocki said a small group around the manatee family was watching and it was something he had never seen before.

“They just swam off a family, the mother, the father and the baby!”

The West Indian manatee is protected both on the federal level and on the state level in Florida.

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