Virginia Marine Police saved a manatee that got trapped in a pound net in the Chesapeake Bay.
The rescue occurred Sunday after paddleboarders spotted the stranded animal and called for help.
Video and pictures of the manatee were shared by the Virginia Marine Police on Facebook and displayed the animal pushing against the net to get out.
Officer Neil Gunter responded and found the manatee in the net. The animal was able to swim and not in distress, but was clearly trapped. Gunther notified the Virginia Stranding Team to better assess the situation.
They helped him assess the situation as he stayed with the manatee to ensure its safety. Gunther also notified the owner of the net, who drove down to help.
Together, the two lowered the net to offer the manatee a clear swimming path to freedom. The animal escaped unharmed and was seen heading out of the Chesapeake Bay.
When asked about the rescue, Gunther said, “I was surprised to see a manatee up here. In fact, I didn’t believe it when the call came in.”
“But, it was cool to see one in person and I am glad that I could help in its time of need. It’s what we do,” he added.
Although manatees are sometimes seen along the East Atlantic coast, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service noted they generally prefer the southeastern areas with most sightings are recorded around Florida.
In 2021, a herd of manatees made its way to Virginia Beach, per local WTKR3 News. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center noted these animals are not able to survive in the nearby Hampton Roads area, which goes further inland.
They advised people to contact the local Stranding Response Team when manatees are sighted.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.