JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A manatee was rescued after it was trapped in the mud banks along a river earlier this month in Florida.
The Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission helped the manatee get to safety after seeing that it was caught at low tide in the mud banks along the St. John's River, which is across from TIAA Bank Field, on Jan. 7.
As the tide was wearing away, rescue crews rolled out their equipment to help the animal, the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department said in a Facebook post.
There was reportedly a long trail on the river for the manatee to get into deeper water, but it was not healthy enough to do so.
In a video posted by the fire department, rescue crews are seen laying out board walkways to provide access for them to reach the manatee. They then brought it back across the mud to land and lifted the manatee to a waiting truck so crews could transport it to the Jacksonville Zoo.
"[It's] not your everyday rescue, but [we're] happy to be able to assist in this rescue which took a few hours and finished just before dark," the fire department wrote in the Facebook post.
The manatee is prepared to be released back to the river after being checked out and taken care of by zoo officials, authorities say.
You can see the fire department's video of the manatee's rescue below.
Last year, manatee deaths dropped from a record high the year before, but the FWC officials that chronic starvation caused by water pollution remains a major concern.
Preliminary statistics show 800 recorded manatee deaths last year in Florida, according to the FWC. That compares with more than 1,100 in 2021. Both numbers are higher than the average annual deaths of marine mammals.
The new numbers come as state and federal officials are feeding thousands of pounds of romaine lettuce to manatees at a warm-water power plant on Florida's east coast in an effort to slow manatee starvation deaths. Threatened animals were fed more than 200,000 pounds of lettuce in the initial trial program last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.