Rescue Efforts a Success: "Dennis" on his way back to Florida
It was an early morning start for rescuers on Cape Cod today as efforts began to get Dennis the wayward manatee out of the chilly waters of New England and on his way back to a more hospitable climate.
Initally, it looked like the rescue would be quick and easy as Dennis swam up close to the crowd waiting near shore. However, instead of lingering to bask in the attention, he kept on going...and going...and going...
But by 9:30am the rescue crew were able to get a net around our wily friend, contain him and by 10:00 he was out of the water. If you are wondering what kind of net was used - here's the answer. Rescuers surrounded Dennis with a 320 foot long and 22 foot deep fishing weir. One of the team then dove below to attach a line to the bottom of the weir, which was then slowly was pulled from underneath the manatee, creating a little pocket for Dennis, containing him for the next stage of the rescue.
A winch and barge then lifted the manatee out of the water, put him in a sling and then using a boat forklift put him in the back of the truck that would take him to Florida. Dennis will now spend the next twenty hours, resting on a large piece of foam, covered in blankets.
Once out of the water, experts were able to give Dennis a thorough check. He appears to be in fairly good condition, but a little thin and some of his vital sign were not all that good. Clearly, the decision to get Dennis out of the cool water of Cape Cod and back into the warmer waters of Florida was the right one.
Once, the 20 hour journey is over, Dennis will spend time being rehabilitated at Sea World, Orlando, with plans for eventually being released back into the wild.
IFAW would like to thank everyone involved in this special rescue effort. The support from the town officials from Dennis, as well as local police, firefighters, and the harbour master was outstanding, as was the support from US Fish and Wildlife Service. As well, the outpouring of support from the community was amazing. It was so great to see the several hundred well wishers who came down to Sesuit Harbor to watch the rescue and the enthusiasm they showed when Dennis was finally pulled from the water. Stay tuned for updates as this wayward mantatee continues his journey home.