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Manatee stuck in bike tire last year spotted tire-free at Blue Spring State Park

Experts are not sure how the manatee escaped the tire encircling its body, but they have a theory.
Credit: Save the Manatee Club

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A manatee affectionately named Schwinn was the center of attention for rescue groups since it was spotted last year stuck in a tire ring. 

Crews worked endlessly in attempts to capture the manatee to remove the ring, but the wary sea cow evaded the several attempts made. Schwinn eventually migrated from the area and was not seen again -- until earlier this month.

According to a press release, Manatee Research Associate, Cora Berchem of Save the Manatee Club first saw the manatee on the above-water live streaming camera while completing a screening. The sighting was reported to officials from FWC who are said to have confirmed the details.

“The live webcams are not only great entertainment, but they’re also an excellent tool for our manatee sighting research and for monitoring aspects of the health status of manatees in the spring run,” Berchem explained.

And to rescuers' surprise, the manatee was spotted tire-free at Blue Spring State Park. How? Well, Save the Manatee Club says experts aren't entirely sure, but it seems nature took care of it.

Credit: Save the Manatees Club

"Ironically, Schwinn the manatee was superficially struck by a boat’s propeller in February, which cut through a significant portion of the tire. The cut from the propeller likely weakened the tire, allowing the manatee to swim free sometime later," it wrote in a press release.

But Schwinn is also lucky to be alive. A prop strike could have killed the aquatic mammal, as it has many others over the years.

Save the Manatee Club says it will continue to closely monitor Schwinn as the manatee now bears deep scars from the initial entanglement. 

Schwinn's story serves as a reminder for boaters to obey posted speed zones, avoid dedicated manatee sanctuaries, and look for signs of submerged or surfacing manatees, the organization says.

It's also asking residents to prevent pollution in Florida's waterways by disposing properly of their trash and fishing lines.

If you spot an entangled, injured, ill, or orphaned manatee you are asked to call FWC at 1-888-404-3922. 

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