The images of hurricane ravaged Florida have struck a chord with viewers across the country about the helplessness of facing a force of nature.
Sadly, animals are just as helpless, if not more so, when having to deal with Hurricane Irma. So when Florida residents started sharing pictures of two stranded manatees on social media, it tugged at the heart strings of animal lovers.
The manatees were stranded after Hurricane Irma sucked the water out of Sarasota Bay, in Manatee County.
Michael Sechler posted that the animals, known as sea cows, were far too massive to be lifted, so they gave them water. Sechler said he posted pictures of the stranded manatees hoping rescue workers or wildlife officials would respond.
Another man, Marcelo Clavijo posted that a group of people eventually loaded the manatees onto tarps and dragged them to deeper water, about 100 yards away.
Nadia Gordon, marine mammal biologist with FWC, said the commission has received several reports of stranded manatees in the county, according to the Bradenton Herald.
“We’re not actually intervening at this point,” Gordon said. “Unfortunately with manatees, they are accustomed to being tidally stranded at times.”
No one should try moving the manatees themselves, as they are a state and federally protected species.
“When the tide comes back in, we do have concerns of manatees ending up in areas where they naturally wouldn’t,” Gordon said, adding that she doesn’t think the manatees will be injured.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.