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“This Manatee Is Going To Die.” Deputies Go Above And Beyond To Save Exhausted Critter.

A two-photo collage. The first shows Jill Constant wearing her uniform while standing on a boat, discussing safety. She is also wearing sunglasses. The second shows Jill Constant and a fellow deputy working to keep a manatee's head above water.

Many folks mistake typical manatee behavior with signs that something is wrong. That’s why, when Deputy Jill Constant got a call from a woman who said that something was wrong with one of these creatures in the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida, she wasn’t quick to assume the worst. But then Jill saw the poor creature herself.

The manatee was giving all of their energy into beaching themselves on nearby rocks, but they just couldn’t do it. Luckily, this is the exact kind of emergency that the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) Marine and Environmental Lands Unit is trained to handle.

“We docked the boat, I took off my equipment, and got in,” Jill said. “We stayed in the water for two hours holding its head up until it could be rescued.”

Pulling this off was no easy feat. She and a fellow deputy worked hard to keep the poor creature afloat. Still, there was absolutely nothing that could keep them from giving up on the manatee.

“This manatee is going to die right in front of us and I’m not letting that happen!” Jill said.

At first, it seemed the creature was grateful for the help. Or, at the least, not resistant to it. Once they gained back enough strength, however, things quickly changed.

“At the end of the process it was not happy with us!” Jill recalled. “At the beginning it was too exhausted, but after a while it had recovered its strength a little and it started thrashing. I thought I was going to drown – a martyr for the cause.”

Luckily, the two deputies stayed strong, keeping the frightened manatee safe until more help arrived. Upon further inspection, the animal was affected by the toxins produced by the red tide in west-central Florida.

Still, this sweet manatee is expected to make a full recovery! We’re so happy this harrowing story has a happy end.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here and here!

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