Two manatees were said to have been caught Sunday in the extremely low tide created by Hurricane Irma.
Michael Sechler said on Facebook that he and friends went to a bay near Whitfield Avenue and U.S. 41 in Manatee County and found two beached manatees.
His post had been shared almost 1,000 times as of Sunday afternoon. Sechler told the Bradenton Herald that he is trying to verify whether some agency, whether Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or Mote Marine Laboratory, had shown up to move the manatees to deeper water.
Another man, Marcelo Clavijo, later said that two Manatee County deputies had helped move them about 100 yards away.
The extremely low pressure is causing water around the hurricane to recede from the shoreline.
Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with FWC, said the commission has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county.
“We’re not actually intervening at this point,” Gordon said. “Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times.”
Most of the time, this is during mating season, she said. When females get worn out during the action, sometimes they beach themselves for a break.
“We just let nature take its course.”
No one should try moving the manatees themselves, as they are a state and federally protected species. When reporting a sick or injured manatee to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922, callers should include the location, number of manatees and any photos or videos.
“When the tide comes back in, we do have concerns of manatees ending up in areas where they naturally wouldn’t,” Gordon said, adding that she doesn't think the manatees will be injured.