Call him Coco.
A wounded Florida Keys manatee is on the mend after being rescued Wednesday and treated by a veterinarian.
Coco, a nearly 9-foot-long manatee who got caught up in fishing line, was found in a canal alongside Coco Plum Drive in Marathon. The day before, researchers put out a call for help to locate the hurt animal.
Locals had seen the manatee earlier in the week suffering from monofilament fishing line tangled around both of his pectoral flippers.
The line was so deeply embedded in his right flipper that it had swollen, said Mary Stella, of the Dolphin Research Center.
The DRC’s Manatee Rescue team captured the manatee Wednesday, lifting it out of the water on a special pillowed stretcher so it could rest on land. They kept it wet and under shade, Stella said.
It took a dozen people to lift the manatee.
Dr. Maya Rodriguez, a vet from Miami Seaquarium and manatee specialists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, joined the rescue mission.
“Dr. Rodriguez successfully removed all of the fishing line from the manatee,” Stella said. “The animal's injuries were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, and antibiotics were administered.”
Rodriguez said the swelling would heal with the fishing line removed.
The FWC measured and microchipped the manatee for future identification and he was released back into the water.
“It saddens me that we have to rescue this manatee because someone let their fishing line get into the water,” said Mandy Rodriguez, chief operating officer of the DRC. “But we're happy that the public spotted the animal and called it in and that our team was able to rescue and assist it today.”
As a tribute to the area where residents helped locate the manatee, the team christened him Coco.