KEY WEST, Florida — Two rehabilitated manatees have been returned to Florida Keys waters.
Staff from Dolphin Research Center’s Manatee Rescue Team, and volunteers with Dolphins Plus Marine Mammal Responder and Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, assisted with the rescues and helped with the Wednesday releases.
“Spookey” was rescued in the Upper Keys in October 2019 after a boat strike severely injured her tail.
In February 2020, “Scott” was discovered with a flipper entangled in monofilament fishing line.
Both marine mammals were rehabilitated at Miami Seaquarium.
While these two might have been able to get back to their normal lives, not all manatees are so lucky.
Manatee mortality rates are on the rise in Florida with the state seeing 824 deaths in 2018: It's the highest number of deaths recorded in the past five years.
Human interference took second, with 124, or 15 percent of manatees dying from watercraft strikes in 2018. Another 21 died from other human interactions like vandalism, poaching, entrapment in pipes and entanglement in ropes or lines.
Overall, approximately 24.3 percent of the state's reported manatee deaths occurred here in the Tampa Bay area, according to FWC. Between seven counties 200 manatees were killed or died from natural causes.
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