DESPERATE attempts were made to rescue and revive a sickly manatee that was discovered in Grand Turk waters last week, The Turks and Caicos Weekly News reports.
But sadly the stunning creature died early on Wednesday morning (November 12) after nearly a week in the TCI.
Katharine Hart from the Government’s Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs (DEMA) released a statement on the rescue attempt the same day.
“I am so sad to let everyone know that unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the manatee died peacefully at 5.45am this morning,” she wrote.
“The team working with him are heartbroken and exhausted, but we take peace in the fact that we did everything in our power to give him the best possible chance of survival, and he died in a loving, caring environment rather than alone at sea.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for the last few days – the support from the community in Grand Turk, Provo and further afield was overwhelming.
“We proved that this community can move mountains if we work together… I hope we can transfer this mentality into all aspects of our community in the future.”
On Wednesday, November 5, DEMA received a call from a concerned resident to say that there was a manatee swimming around the Ports Authority Dock in Grand Turk.
Although it was not seen that Thursday, on Friday the Grand Turk Cruise Centre reported that the manatee was spotted near the cruise ships.
When located the six foot juvenile male, which requires fresh water to survive, was dehydrated and emaciated.
Hart and volunteers fed it 30 gallons of fresh water, as well as copious amounts of lettuce.
DEMA contacted both the US Fish and Wildlife Services, and the Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Centre.
Following a formal request for assistance, the Puerto Rico Manatee Conservation Centre offered both support and services to collect the animal and fly him back to Puerto Rico where he would be rehabilitated for eventual release into the wild.
They explained that once he reached a healthy condition the centre would be able to investigate his genetics to determine which population of manatees he was from, and if he could be released with a satellite transmitter into familiar waters.
On Tuesday the manatee was transported to a swimming pool in Grand Turk where he was fed and given water, but sadly he died early the next morning.
Manatees are not common in the TCI’s waters and it is likely that the recent stormy weather in the region resulted in the juvenile straying from familiar waters in the Dominican Republic and finding itself in Grand Turk.
Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows.
They measure up to 13 feet long, weigh as much as 1,300 pounds and have paddle-like flippers.
For the original report go to http://tcweeklynews.com/young-manatee-discovered-in-tci-waters-p5634-127.htm