(Reuters) – Virginia Edmonds, standing in shallow water, used her legs to slowly nudge an ailing young manatee to one side of a treatment pool. A half dozen other female members of a manatee rehabilitation team hovered close by – one with a syringe – waiting for the signal.
“OK!” Edmonds called, as the others jumped in and threw a mat over the manatee to try and hold it still.
The 545-pound (247-kg) mammal bucked, thrashed, rolled and tossed the women off before they could inject an antibiotic; just one minor challenge in an effort to rescue and treat members of this endangered species that are dying in record numbers from an algae bloom.
The so-called Red Tide algae bloom has killed a total of 181 manatees so far this year, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
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