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Good Samaritans help young manatee found beached in Naples

Good Samaritans in Southwest Florida helped a manatee breathe after it was found along a beach. Minutes later, a crowd formed, as investigators worked to get it help so it could survive.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said a young manatee, shy of being fully grown, stranded itself for along a beach at the Park Shore community in Naples Thursday.

“It just wasn’t even trying to move, just laying there,” Lou Puerini said.

Most often, an older manatee might strand itself on a beach. But this young manatee did not fit the typical criteria for a stranded manatee. Onlookers were thinking about reasons why this manatee would do it.

“There was a brief comment made by someone,” Lou said. “They said maybe it was red tide.”

Others said red tide it may not be an immediate nuisance to people, but it has an impact.

“The red tide is noticeable not an annoyance to us,” Phil Lindau said. “But we do notice it.”

FWC said it’s running more tests to find out what happened and said the good Samaritans did the right thing by not pushing the animal back into the water.

“Underneath the neck, they put the swimming noodles,” Dale Puerini said. “Three of them to keep it out of water.”

They thought quick and were very successful.

“A pretty noble attempt to save the manatee,” Lou said.

We reached out to FWC for an update on the manatee’s condition and have not heard back yet.

And those beachgoers didn’t leave the manatees side until help arrived. People we spoke to said there were about 30 people trying to help.

“We had to move the manatee in and out of the water,” Dale said. “So they put a tarp to carry it under, and everybody took turns helping to lift.”

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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