TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Just a day after International Manatee Day, a mother manatee and her calf were rescued from the Hillsborough River.
Lluvia and her nine month old calf were found behind ZooTampa in the Hillsborough River a week ago after the mother was seen floating.
“The FWC works really closely with citizens in the area to monitor animals they think are critical and they were able to monitor them and felt like at this point it was time for them to get rescued and to come into our critical care center,” said Molly Lippincott, Curator of Florida and Manatees at ZooTampa.
Lluvia, at 1610 pounds, is buoyant and most likely suffering internal damage from a boat strike, so she and her 150 pound calf were brought to ZooTampa’s manatees critical care center.
“Our next steps will most likely be to monitor her blood work and will do some potential x-rays to see what’s going on internally,” said Lippincott.
ZooTampa is currently rehabilitating 17 manatees. Four of which, including Lluvia are considered critical because of boat strikes.
“They all have some kind of lung entry and those are the most challenging cases to fix it could be really hard when you’re working in an aquatic environment to fix internal injuries,” she said.
Lippincott said boaters should slow down and be mindful of no wake zones. She recommends boaters wear polarized sunglasses.
“There are accidents you may hit a manatee it’s also really important to report it so the sooner we can get that animal to our critical care center at the more we can do for,” she said.
ZooTampa said the mom and calf will be there at least 6 months as Lluvia undergoes more testing. If you see a manatee in distress, you can call the Florida Fish and Wildlife to report it at 888-404-FWCC.