A Florida Keys manatee needs your help.
Researchers and wildlife officials are searching the Middle Keys for a seven-foot-long manatee that has become entangled in fishing line, with the line tied around both of its pectoral flippers.
“The right flipper is significantly swollen,” said Mary Stella, of the Dolphin Research Center Manatee Rescue Team.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are assisting in the search for the wounded manatee.
It has been seen several times in the Coco Plum area of Marathon, and earlier this week was spotted near 10th Avenue in Key Colony Beach, Stella said.
“Trained assessors search daily for this animal,” Stella said in a statement. “Although the entanglement is serious, it is not life-threatening. The goal is to locate the manatee early enough in the day so that FWC manatee personnel can travel to the area, team up with Dolphin Research Center and attempt the rescue.”
Officials ask that if someone sees the manatee to immediately call FWC at 888-404-3922 and try to provide GPS coordinates of the location.
“Please do not attempt to assist the manatee yourself,” Stella said. “Doing so puts both you and the manatee at greater risk.”