PALM HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manatee rescue team captured two of several manatees from Lake Tarpon on Thursday.
The manatees swam into the lake when Tropical Storm Colin hit over the summer. The manatees made their way into the lake by swimming through a water control structure at the southern end of the lake, according to FWC. That structure is not expected to open again until the next rainy season.
Biologists say there is plenty of vegetation in Lake Tarpon for manatees to eat, but they are concerned about the lack of warm water as winter approaches.
The rescue team has been surveying the lake by boat and plane to see how many manatees are stranded.
Just before noon on Thursday, FWC crews pulled an 8-foot-long manatee from Lake Tarpon.
“Once we find a Manatee we are going to capture it and bring it onto the boat and bring it onshore for a health assessment. We want to make sure these manatees are healthy enough to be released back into the wild into warmer waters,” said Michelle Kern with FWC.
Part of the health assessment included measuring the manatee from head to tail, taking a blood sample and weighing him. This young manatee wound up weighing 892 lbs. He was determined to be in good health.
A second baby calf was also rescued on Thursday. Both manatees were released in Safety Harbor.
The team plans on rescuing more manatees on Friday.
The FWC wants residents to report manatee sightings on Lake Tarpon, including the location and time that manatees are sighted. The number to call to report manatee sightings is 727-224-6720.
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