Cuban fishermen rescued an injured baby manatee on Thursday (March 3). The fishermen nursed the baby back to health with a mix of cow and goat’s milk and coconut water.
The manatee was found with deep cuts on her head and body in Marea del Portillo Bay. Fishermen brought the animal to shore and asked for help from people in a nearby farm village.
“We were fishing along the shore when we saw her coming. When she approached us we realised she was injured,” said fisherman Victor Antonio Serrano.
“She had several wounds on her body, one on the head, two on the rest of the body. We made the decision to take her to the port of Marea [del Portillo] where the boats were moored,” Serrano said.
“When we got there the whole town was very surprised, some people ran to help us, others ran to get milk. Seeing that she was small and knowing that she is a mammal, we decided to give her some milk,” he added.
Manatees, also known as sea cows, are found in sheltered bays and estuaries throughout Cuba. The island is known to have the best habitat for the manatees in the Caribbean, but the animals are threatened by poaching and are often found entangled in fishing gear.
“I called the aquarium [in Santiago de Cuba] and they told me to keep feeding her with milk in order to keep her alive until they came to get her,” said Josefina Rosales, who is responsible for the Marea del Portillo’s fishing base.
Rosales named the manatee Julia Victoria, in honour of her two rescuers, fishermen Julio and Victor. Julia Victoria is now being cared for at Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Santiago de Cuba and will be released when she’s recovered.
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