Such was the hard choice that backfired for more than a dozen manatees who had to be rescued from said drainpipe in Satellite Beach on Florida’s east coast.
“It’s been cold lately and these canals are all filled with manatees,” Satellite Beach Fire Chief Don Hughes said, as Florida Today reported. “I wouldn’t even begin to venture a guess as to how they got into the drainage pipes. They will go wherever there’s warm water.”
But getting in is one thing and getting out is another. Some of the manatees simply got lost, unable to find their way out. Early Tuesday, local media was reporting that 19 had to be rescued from the drainage pipe.
Acting on a tip from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, municipal workers found the manatees in the drainpipe at around 3 p.m. Local police and fire agencies teamed up with SeaWorld and the commission to save the animals, which included a mother and her calf.
Onlookers cheered as the manatees were pulled out of the drain on huge stretchers. The manatees, some bruised and bloody, were less thrilled — at least one bucked as rescuers tried to load it on to the back of a truck with a backhoe.
“My mother’s here from Ohio,” said C.J. Miller, who’s lived in the area for more than three decades. “We heard about this and decided to come to see what was happening. She’s never seen a manatee.”
Hopefully, these great beasts will be in better shape upon her next encounter.
Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the location of Satellite Beach.