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"Cow" Catchers Converge

In Perspective: A wounded manatee and her calf draw rescuers to Bethel Creek

What a delight it is to catch a glimpse of manatees in the Indian River and its canals — lolling in the water, snorting spray from fuzzy snouts. They operate at two speeds, slow and slower, which is why they are always in danger of being hit by motor boats. I had never seen one with fresh wounds, however, until a mother and her young calf showed up at our dock on Bethel Creek.

Usually, mother manatees (“cows”) will try to keep their calves out of sight, but this one seemed to be pushing the baby as close to our dock as possible. When my son and I went to investigate, we saw a deep, bloody gash across the mother’s back, clearly from the blades of a motor. We immediately called the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in Melbourne, as well as our local Vero Beach police department.

Read the entire article in the Summer 2000 issue