HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — ZooTampa is caring for a young manatee that was rescued from a ditch in New Port Richey on Wednesday.
The young male was found in a drain, not where he should be, with scratches on his head.
“At this point, we’re not really sure how long the manatee had been in the culvert, at least overnight,” said Molly Lippincott, ZooTampa senior curator.
Lippincott said the animal was brought to ZooTampa for a checkup. He was weighed, measured and had bloodwork done.
“Our biggest thing we wanted to watch for were neurological issues, just because he has a scrape on his head,” said Lippincott. “We’re not seeing any of those signs right now but we’re keeping a really close eye on him.”
The manatee is adjusting well to Critical Care Center.
“We’re not really sure how this animal ended up in the culvert,” said Lippincott. “Could it be related to the hurricane? I’m not sure. At this point, we have seen animals getting trapped in different locations around the state with the rising waters, but quite a few of those animals have been rescued and re-released.”
He is one of 20 manatees currently being treated at the Critical Care Center. Lippincott said there have been quite a few boat strikes in the last few months.
The male manatee is believed to be in good health and could be released soon.
If you see a manatee in distress, call FWC’s Wildlife Alert Toll-Free Number: 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922) and press 7 to speak with an operator.