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Jul 14, 2020

A Baby Manatee is Rescued!

On Monday, Manatee Conservationist Jamal Galves and a team of volunteers rescued an orphan manatee calf.  A concerned citizen spotted the calf in distress off the George Price Highway around mile six late Sunday evening. Galves and some volunteers went out early on Monday morning to assess the situation. There he found the calf alone and in need of help. The animal is estimated to be between two weeks to a month old. Had the calf not been rescued it wouldn’t have survived on its own as it needs to nurse for one to two years. The rescue was shared on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute Facebook page on Monday afternoon has already garnered over half a million views. Earlier today we spoke with Galves about the rescue.


Jamal Galves

Jamal Galves, Programme Coordinator, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute

“Our crew sped off as early as five-thirty yesterday morning, trying to get an early start. We made our way down to where we actually located the young calf swimming in circles which is a sign of distress or maybe having physical problems that isn’t allowing it to swim like a natural, normal manatee would. We observed the animal for a while to ensure that there aren’t any other manatees in the area. We used drones to navigate the area to see if we can locate any other animals in the area to ensure that we are not taking away a calf from its mother. Because if there were any other manatees in that area there wouldn’t have been the need for us to intervene but based on the animal’s behavior – spinning in circles; spending a lot of time on the surface – behaviors that are from distress. A baby that is in distress unable to locate its mother, nothing other than what its mother taught him. It is a young calf of about two to four weeks old so it is relatively young. At that age it is critical to rehab a young calf because they are so sensitive to everything you do and everything you don’t do to help them. But after the rescue, the calf was transported to the rehabilitation center in Sarteneja where the first night went very smoothly. I must say it was very encouraging during the transport. It was very welcoming to food. In terms of rehydration, we have given it pedialyte to keep it rehydrated. If you look at the videos you will see the calf’s stomach is very flat which is not normal because manatees are usually pretty chubby. Initial response to rehab seems positive so far but it is not out of the woods yet.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, you expect the calf to be there for a while at the rehab center?”


Jamal Galvez

“Correct. A young calf of that age and size will likely be there for a couple years; three to four years maybe and until it becomes of age and has the behavior to go back into the wild.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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