A construction worker at a waterfront site on the 300 block of Bird Key Drive spotted a gray object floating in the water at roughly 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
Less than two hours later, Mote Marine Laboratory staff removed the body of a juvenile male manatee from the Bird Key waterway.
"It's sad any time we find one that small," said Mote Marine Laboratory staff biologist Rebeccah Hazelkorn, who assisted four others in the Stranding Investigations Program in removing the manatee. There weren't immediate signs of trauma. The marine mammal may have died from exposure to red tide or an infection, Hazelkorn said.
Mote staff used a crane on the rear of a white truck to lift the manatee out of the waterway, and will now transfer it the Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. It ould take up to a month to learn the results, Hazelkorn said.