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09 декабря 2018, 21:30

Dead Manatee Found in Drainage Area in South Carolina

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Wildlife officials in South Carolina pulled a dead manatee from a drainage area on Thursday.

According to officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) South Carolina office, the female manatee got stuck in a water control structure, an area of water that’s pumped in by a pipe, the Sun News reported.

Photo Credit: S.C.U.T.E./Facebook

South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts (S.C.U.T.E.) received a call about an animal lodged underneath a fishing pier at Litchfield By The Sea in Pawleys Island.

USFWS authorities and Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge tied a rope around the animal and pulled it to shore Thursday. The manatee, which was between 3 and 4 years old, was transported for a necropsy, the animal form of an autopsy.

It’s not the first time manatees has been spotted in the state, but it is uncommon for manatees to be in South Carolina when the water gets colder.

Photo Credit: S.C.U.T.E./Facebook

According to Melanie Olds, a fish and wildlife biologist with USFWS, the manatee could have have stayed in the area after finding a warm pocket of water, or it could have been too small and thought it couldn’t make the journey south.

As the temperatures began to drop in the area, the water temperature where the manatee was stuck would have also dropped. The cold could have caused a shock to her system.

Manatees, which are large blubberous seal-like creatures, have limited ability to adapt to low temperature extremes — they are known to succumb to water cooled to  just 68 degrees. They are also susceptible to a phenomenon researchers call “cold stress syndrome.”

Photo Credit: S.C.U.T.E./Facebook

For a 2003 study published in the journal Aquatic Mammals, researchers from the Harbor Branch Oceanographic performed necropsies of 12 manatees in Florida thought to have died from cold stress syndrome during the winter months. They found that each manatee showed signs of starvation, including a thinned blubber layer and an overall sunken appearance.

Manatees, a federally protected species, need warm water to survive. In spite of their size, they have relatively little body fat, and their metabolic rate is low compared to other marine mammals, according to the Save the Manatee Club.

About 50 manatees are thought to migrate from Florida to the South Carolina Lowcountry each summer — about 1 percent of the population — then return in winter when water temperatures begin to cool. Occasionally, some of them stay in warmer pockets of water on the cast or get trapped.

Around the same time last year, an unprecedented 10 manatees were rescued from South Carolina’s Cooper River, as reported by the Post and Courier.

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Source: https://www.geek.com/news/dead-manatee-found-in-drainage-area-in-south-carolina-1765038/?source=science