A group of construction workers received an unexpected request when they were working near a channel in the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia one day. A fully-grown manatee had washed up on the shore of a nearby river and the rescue team needed professional help from the construction workers to get the large marine mammal back into the water.
Of course, the construction workers were more than happy to be of service, and thanks to the combined effort of the workers and the rescue team, the manatee was returned safely to deeper waters.
They captured the whole process on video, and it’s so heartwarming to see everyone coming together to help the stranded creature.
If, like us, you’ve never heard of a manatee before, here’s a short explanation. Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals, who are sometimes known as sea cows. To us, they resemble sea lions and are one of the most adorable-looking sea creatures we think we’ve ever seen.
Georgia DNR and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute rushed to the rescue amid reports that an adult manatee was stranded on a sandy berm across Rifle Cut.
Apparently, the construction workers had noticed manatees swimming around the area before, but they were surprised to hear that one had become stranded, and willing to do whatever they could to help.
Manatees once used the man-made waterway to swim between the middle and little back rivers. But when the US army corps of engineers began filling in rifle cut to create wetlands and enhance river flows, it caused some confusion amongst the manatees!
It was time for the rescue to begin.
First of all, the manatee’s scars were marked to aid the identification process, and the rescue team fitted him with a satellite transmitter for tracking. This meant that if the big guy ever got into trouble in the future, the team would be straight on his tail to help guide him the right way again.
After the manatee was given his tracking device, it was the construction workers’ time to shine. The manatee had become stranded in what was essentially a puddle of water, and he was so heavy that lifting him out would be hard work, and not to mention it would be a stressful experience for the sea mammal.
So instead, a bulldozer from Continental Heavy Civil Corp cleared a path for water to reach the stranded manatee. By pushing the earth to the side, the bulldozer allowed for water from the river to flow through the gap and submerge the manatee.
The rescuers’ final task was to place the manatee on a stretcher and gently guide him into the deeper water. Thanks to the water surrounding him, it wasn’t too difficult for the team to move the big mammal, and within no time at all, he was out in deep waters.
It’s an emotional moment as the manatee swims away. Both the construction team and the manatee rescue team watch collectively, and it really feels like a team effort. The manatee will continue to be monitored as he hopefully begins his migration south to warmer Florida waters for the winter – but if not, both teams will be on hand to help!
The heartwarming video was shared on YouTube by WFLA News Channel 8, and you can watch it for yourself below.
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Source: WFLA News Channel 8