If you’re the city of Marco Island Environmental Specialist, rescuing a manatee or other wildlife can be all in a day’s work. Just as it was during a recent manatee rescue at Tigertail Beach.
A manatee stranded itself on a mud flat in Tigertail lagoon due to a strong outgoing tide in a New Moon phase. Walking the beach, Todd Tateo, spotted the stranded manatee and reported it to the Tigertail Beach gate attendant, Lee Gunderson. Todd told Lee the manatee was “high anddry” in the lagoon.
Lee called the city of Marco Island Environmental Specialist Nancy Richie. Tigertail Beach concessionaire Tony Smith and Nancy aided and protected the manatee while waiting for the tide to rise. Michael Tateo, captain of the Dolphin Research boat, along with Ms. Lori Lacks and Mrs. Webb (also out walking the beach) readily assisted.
As protocol dictates, FWC was called and FWC Officer Reid White arrived. They made the manatee as comfortable as possible and had to wait for the tide to do the rest. Eventuallywith rising water, they were able to guide the 800 pound manatee to deeper water, and it swam freely out of the lagoon on its own.
According to Nancy, when strong tides and north northeast winds occur, manatee (and rarely dolphin) strandings can occur in Tigertail lagoon. If you ever come across this situation, please call 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) immediately. In the meantime, while waiting for help, stay quiet, keep crowds away, and if possible keep the marine animal protected from sun with a towel and keep it wet if exposed from the water.