Watch: Wildlife technicians bulldoze manatee to safety

A stranded manatee was freed in Georgia in October. ©psyberartist

It took a bulldozer for wildlife technicians to return a massive manatee back to the water after it became stranded in the mud while trying to cross between two waterbodies in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute worked together in early October to create a channel and free the 10-foot West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus) from the mud between the Little Back River and the Rifle Cut. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is filling in the Rifle Cut in an effort to create wetlands and improve river flows, and the animal may have gotten stuck trying to cross over to an area it had previously used. Army Corps contractors kept the manatee wet until wildlife responders arrived. After checking the animal’s health and fitting it with a satellite transmitter, workers used a bulldozer to clear out a small channel between the manatee and the river, allowing water to flow in. The technicians eased the now-wet animal onto a stretcher and brought it to deeper water.

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