Aquatic researchers with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium saved the life of a tiny manatee in Belize after they spotted it struggling in the water.
The researchers were able to pull the female manatee calf from the water and immediately worked to stabilize her.
As the Clearwater Marine Aquarium shared on Facebook, the calf was having difficulty breathing and swimming through the rough waters. It was clear that she needed help or she wouldn’t make it.
“Young manatees can become separated from their mothers during stormy weather, as they may not be strong enough to fight strong currents in the water,” the aquarium explained in the post.
Thankfully, they were able to get the calf to safety and transport her to Wildtracks where she can receive around-the-clock care.
In an update post on Facebook, Wildtracks said they suspect the calf’s mother was killed by a tourism boat. They explained:
“We have had two years without calf intakes – and two years with very limited tourism boat traffic – coincidence? We don’t know what happened to this calf’s mother, but it is highly likely that she was hit and killed by a tourism boat in the Belize City coastal area.”
They went on to say that manatee calves are highly dependent on their moms for the first one to two years of life, and the little rescue calf was only between one and two weeks old. They said that she’s “emaciated, scarred and not yet stable” but they’re working hard to stabilize her.
f they’re able to stabilize her, the baby manatee will have to go through a lengthy rehabilitation program before she’ll be ready for release into the wild.
The calf did show interest in drinking milk which is a positive sign, and the rescue team is hopeful that she’ll survive and eventually make her way back into the ocean where she belongs