CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A manatee near Crystal River, Florida, was rescued after its flipper was hooked to its face with a large fishing lure, rendering the animal unable to swim normally. According to a Facebook post from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, residents spotted the animal struggling to swim in a spring near Crystal River.
Staff eventually found the thin manatee on Feb. 20 with a large fishing lure hooked to its face and flipper.
The FWC institute said the fishing line was wrapped around the manatee’s flipper, making it difficult for the animal to properly move.
“The manatee was captured, the lure was removed, and the animal was taken to ZooTampa at Lowry Park for rehabilitation,” the post said. “It’s important to ensure that we all do our part to prevent entanglements by disposing of trash, monofilament fishing line, and other gear in the proper bins.”
Entangled manatees should be reported to the FWC, and entanglements on marine mammals should only be removed by wildlife officials.