Dead Manatee Found on Shell Island

Marine biologists are investigating a manatee death near the Wakulla River. Shell Island residents say the gentle sea giant was discovered sometime Monday night.

It was a sobering sight Tuesday morning as biologists dragged a lifeless manatee to the banks of the Wakulla River. The gentle mammal was spotted late Monday night floating upside down near a Shell Island residence.

Allen Hobbs, a resident, says, “It looked white, we could tell he was floating too high in the water to be alive.”

His prognosis was correct. The manatee had several gashes on its body, ones officers believe were human caused.

Stan Tucker, a Fish and Wildlife officer, says, “Looks like there's a small gash on the head where [it] possibly got hit by a propeller.”

It's a problem that happens quite often on these waters. However, manatee activists say it rarely results in fatalities. In fact, the last manatee death in Wakulla County dates back two years.

Mickey Cantner, a Manatee activist, says, “Usually not in this river. We have cold stress in the winter. The more boats we have, the more injuries we'll see like this, which is why more signs are being posted and more attention needs to be paid, especially during the summer months as the gentle giants come to visit.”

Since early summer there have been nearly 20 manatees spotted in the Wakulla and St. Marks Rivers. The deceased manatee will be taken to St. Petersburg for further investigations.