Manatee rescued near Port Everglades may have been struck by a boat
He is only 5 months old and still needs his mother’s shadow as protection. But a manatee rescued near Port Everglades has a new name and a new lease on life.
Brownee was spotted in distress in the water near Port Everglades on Friday, the victim of a possible boat collision. He was the second manatee rescued in South Florida within a week.
Personnel from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Broward Sheriff’s Office were able to pluck the baby sea cow from the water.
They initially called him Mr. Bubble and took him to the Miami Seaquarium on Key Biscayne to be evaluated and treated, according to a Port Everglades posting on Facebook.
Mr. Bubble’s new moniker became Brownee because the folks at Miami Seaquarium didn’t know about his name — and they have their own naming tradition.
This year, the attraction’s naming theme is desserts “because they are so sweet,” said Dr. Magdalena Rodriguez, a veterinarian at the park.
On Monday, Brownee was relaxing as he was treated with antibiotic injections and nibbled on romaine lettuce and bananas in a pool of fresh water kept at a comfy 80 degrees.
He is just over 5 feet long and weighs about 200 pounds. Initial tests suggested he hadn’t nursed in about a week, Rodriguez said. The calf arrived at the Seaquarium anemic and dehydrated.
Based on lesions the manatee has, Rodriguez theorizes he may have been hit by a boat.
For now, a large pad keeps him calm by creating a protective shadow — the type of shadow Brownee’s mother would cast.
“We’re controlling his environment so he’s very comfortable,” Rodriguez said.
So far, Brownee is eating well. If his recovery progresses, vets think he could be released back to open waters next winter.
“We’re cautiously optimistic because we are seeing an improvement,” Rodriguez said.
That manatee was eventually hoisted from the water onto a boat dock, where the life jacket was removed and the manatee was lowered back into the Intracoastal Waterway and swam off.
Officials urge people who notice an animal in distress to call the state wildlife commission’s hotline at 888-404-3922.
Additionally, Broward County has a manatee mobile app called “I Spy A Manatee” to help track the docile creatures. It features a call button that pops up for the person to call the wildlife commission if a manatee is believed to be hurt.
Meanwhile, Brownee might be getting a new friend.
On Monday, Miami Seaquarium officials were heading across the state to Naples for another potential manatee rescue.