MIAMI (CBSMiami) –Although manatee season is over, wildlife officials are still rescuing sea cows in times of need – and a special donation from Florida Power & Light will help support the cause.
On Wednesday, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission manatee rescue officials deployed a new transport truck to FPL’s manatee lagoon.
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It will transport manatees to and from rescue, rehabilitation and release sites.
It also doubles as a rolling toolbox with gear to keep manatees safe and comfortable on the road.
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“Right now, manatees still face many challenges, so we at FPL are trying to do everything we can to help support them. So this new transport truck will be traveling across the state to help respond. to the needs of these animals,” said Rachel Shanker, Manatee Lagoon Conservation Liaison and Educator.
The graphic manatee wraps on the truck were donated by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and the Ferman Automotive Group.
The designs were created to grab attention and hopefully inspire people to help manatees.
Florida officials have confirmed 479 manatee deaths so far this year, up from more than 600 this time last year. Both are well above the five-year average of 287 manatee deaths during the period.
There are only about 7,520 animals in the wild today, according to the state wildlife commission.
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Manatees are gentle, round-tailed giants, sometimes called sea cows, and weigh up to 1,200 pounds and live to be around 65 years old. Manatees are the official state marine mammal of Florida and are closely related to elephants.