As massive storm surges pummel Florida during Hurricane Irma, there's a strange by-product of hurricanes that is little known. Storm-related winds that are strong enough actually push water away from beaches, in this case toward the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the absence of ocean waters where there normally is a large amount. Of course, this will doesn't last-- the storm surge will eventually push the waters back. But in the interim period, the waters' absence poses an extreme risk to the survival of different types of marine life who may be stuck without their natural habitat. Two manatees in Florida got stranded in the extremely low tide caused by the storms forces this past weekend. As this helpless pair of manatees were caught in the mud, some Good Samaritans were making final rounds in the beach area ahead of the 3pm curfew on Sunday and spotted the poor animals. These citizens, along with several other people in the area who noticed the efforts, immediately went to work saving the stranded manatees.
Despite their valiant efforts, the initial group of people were unable to move the enormous animals, who can weight up to 1,200 pounds as adults! Instead, they began pouring water over the animals to at least provide some comfort and called the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, unfortunately (although understandably) failing to reach anyone by phone. Thank goodness for social media, in moments like this-- the citizens posted the dilemma and the news spread fast, resulting in several more people showing up at the bay to help. Ultimately, a large team of people were able to roll the manatees onto a tarp and carry them 100 yards to a place where they could re-enter the water.
Sometimes the worst conditions bring out the best in people. These folks risked their own lives and precious minutes of safety to save these helpless animals. These types of stories are truly heartwarming, despite the incredible devastation that we're continuing to learn about as Hurricane Irma hits Florida. Stay safe, everyone-- humans and animals, alike.