Saturday, 2:15 PM
Possible manatee rescue planned on Cape Cod
(International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Far from his Florida home, the manatee loitered along the shore in Dennis on Wednesday afternoon.
By Bina Venkataraman, Globe Correspondent
Wildlife groups made tentative plans today to rescue an injured Florida manatee this weekend that has been lingering near the shore off Cape Cod.
Representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and the Cape Cod Stranding Network said that they hope to "attempt to rescue" the manatee by capturing it with a net this weekend. They are looking for a plane to transport the sea cow back to Florida, where veterinarians would rehabilitate it and release it back into the wild.
This is the farthest north that a wayward manatee has ever been reported, said Charles Underwood of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s manatee rescue and rehabilitation program. As water temperatures drop, the manatee is unlikely to survive in Cape Cod.
"It's an adult, so it can handle some stress," Underwood said. "But the concern now is that the weather is going to get worse."
Past attempts to rescue manatees from locations such as Chesapeake Bay and Memphis have had mixed results, officials said.
The manatee has been spotted in waters off Dennis and Yarmouth. It has a chunk missing from one of its flippers and appears to have lost its left eye, said Chris Cutter, a spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
Manatees are typically found in waters off Florida and southeastern Georgia. The mammals cannot survive long in water below 68 degrees, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.