Freed manatee returns to Georgia waters

A manatee was freed by a bulldozer from stranding last year feeds near Ossabaw Island in Georgia south of Savannah. © Clay George/DNR

A manatee that wildlife managers freed from stranding using a bulldozer last fall in Georgia has returned to Savannah after a 30-day migration northward from Miami. The 10-foot West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) made the news late in 2019 when it became stranded in mud while trying to cross between two waterbodies. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute helped free the manatee using a bulldozer to create a new channel for the 10-foot marine mammal. At the same time, they fitted the female with a radio transmitter, which revealed the details of its roughly 500-mile journey north in March and April. Savannah wasn’t its final stop though, as the device showed it was continuing northward in its spring migration. The Georgia state agency noted that manatees are making the trip earlier than normal due to warmer waters this spring, and cautioned boaters to give the animals space and go slower near shorelines and when in shallow waters.

Read more at Georgia Wild.