State wildlife officials and SeaWorld worked to rescue six manatees Friday that became trapped in a Melbourne pond when Hurricane Irma floodwaters receded.
- Receding Irma floodwaters strand manatees in Melbourne pond
- Crane Creek overflowed during Hurricane Irma
- FWC, UF, SeaWorld experts worked to safely move manatees
Crane Creek flooded its banks, allowing the manatees to make their way into the pond. But when the waters receded, the mammals were trapped.
Like a well-oiled machine, workers from the Florida Fresh and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld and the Brevard Zoo pulled one of the manatees out with a net.
"I saw some manatees going back and forth, because it was very easy to do so," says Rene Alvarez, who owns creek-front property.
Right after Irma, the creek flooded over into his backyard pond. He spotted the group of manatees, including a calf, very close to his home.
"After the water receded to the point we didn't think they could make it out, we called FWC," Alvarez said.
Friday was the first day after the storm that the rescue effort could get underway. Dozens of people working together, pulled them out one by one. There were six in all, not knowing they needed help.
"Days like this, seeing the public support, making it worth it and very rewarding," Bill Greer of FWC said.
Each manatee was checked out by the medical staff, and one by one, they were put back into the creek.
The manatees had ample food where they were, but FWC said after winter comes, they will need to head to warmer waters.
None of the manatees appeared to be hurt.