Injured Manatee Calf Rescued in Key Largo

 Although there may be the occasional manatee rider, the biggest threat to South Florida's sea cow population are boats. And as beautiful weather lures more boaters out to sea, area manatees are increasingly vulnerable to motor injuries.

On Tuesday, a manatee calf was rescued after officials believe he was struck by a boat in the Florida Keys.

The calf, who was named 'Pilgrim' for the Thanksgiving-week rescue, is nearly 6 feet long and weighs 275 pounds.

He was rescued in a Key Largo canal by nearby Dolphin Research Center staff as well as by Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation officials.

The injured calf is currently being treated at the Miami Seaquarium. Although vets say the sea creature suffers from a broken rib that is "releasing air into the body cavity," they expect Pilgrim to fully recover from his injuries.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: If you see a sick or injured manatee, call FWC's Wildlife Alert Toll-Free Number 1-888-404-FWCC.

Remember: The manatee is protected by the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act of 1978, which states: "It is unlawful for any person, at any time, intentionally or negligently, to annoy, molest, harass, or disturb any manatee." Violators face a possible maximum fine of $500 and/or imprisonment for up to 60 days.


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