Cold-stunned manatee pulled from Texas City canal in rare rescue

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Texas City, Texas Texas rescue groups pulled manatees that had caught a cold from a canal in Texas City in early December.

The Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the conservation group responsible for rescuing stranded, injured or out-of-habitat marine animals in Texas, said the manatee was found Friday, December 3, in a channel miles from its natural habitat — docile dugongs. They are commonly found in estuaries, canals, and slow-moving rivers and are concentrated in Florida.

When rescue teams arrived, they determined that the manatee was in critical condition. The manatee, who was underweight at 810 pounds, was suffering from acute cold stress syndrome, the Texas Marine Breast Stringing Network said.

said Heidi Whitehead, executive director of the Texas Marine Mammal Braiding Network.


In a video of the rescue operation, more than a dozen volunteers from animal welfare and conservation organizations are seen working together to pull the manatee out of the canal.

The manatee has been transported to Sea World in San Antonio where he is receiving round-the-clock care. After the manatee is rehabilitated, it will be released back into the wild in Florida where it is believed to have originated.

According to the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, cold stress occurs in marine animals as winter approaches and temperatures drop.

“In manatees, cold stress typically causes skin bleaching, visible cysts, unresolved sores, heavy barnacles or algae load, lethargic behaviors, and weight loss,” reads an organization press release. “Manatees are more susceptible to cold stress if they cannot find adequate warm water sources during periods of cold weather.”

Anyone who sees manatees in the area is urged to contact the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, which will determine if the manatees need assistance. Texans may report sightings of manatees to the Texas Marine Mammal Braiding Network at 1-800-9MAMMAL (1-800-962-6625).

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All Rights Reserved.


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