Two manatees, an adult female and her calf, were found dead in a pond on the Plantation on Crystal River’s golf course Sunday in Citrus County.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the female and her male calf in his second year were reported to the wildlife alert hotline just before noon on Sunday.
Wildlife officials say they are still waiting on a full report on why and how the manatees died.
“We do not know the cause of death at this time,” said Michelle Kerr, FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute spokeswoman. “It is currently under investigation.”
The animals were removed from the pond that afternoon and taken to the lab, wildlife officials said, where necropsies were performed Monday.
The results showed no underlying diseases in either manatee, officials said.
Veterinarian Martine Dewit of FWC’s St. Petersburg Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab said that based on the findings from the necropsy, the animals probably drowned, according to the Citrus County Chronicle.
But the question is why.
While the calf had a partially healed wound from a watercraft strike, officials said, the injury wasn’t the cause of his death.
In previous years, a common misconception about the pond and the manatees is that they are there by accident, said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Chuck Underwood.
Underwood said it’s not uncommon to see manatees in the pond as they have access via nearby canals, particularly whenever there is storm surge or during high tide.
“We see them often,” Underwood said, “and it’s not a big concern because they are able to come and go, they aren’t stuck.”
The incident is under investigation. FWC officials said they do not have an estimated timeline on when it will be concluded.