This Thing Called Courage

Monday, October 13, 2008

Final Manatee Update: Dennis the Manatee Dies

(This is really sad. We do so much lethal damage to our fellow creatures through accident, greed, or ignorance, that it hurts when our attempts to do something good don't work out. A good thing can come out of this, if all the hundreds of people who visited Dennis on the Cape, and all the thousands of people who have been rivetted by his story, make a donation to http://www.savethemanatee.org/ or the International Fund for Animal Welfare at www.ifaw.org )


Dennis the manatee dies
By Emily Canal, Globe Correspondent October 12, 2008
Dennis the manatee, rescued yesterday from the frigid waters of Cape Cod, died in Florida today as SeaWorld employees carted the mammal to a rehabilitation center.
Officials from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), based in Yarmouthport, confirmed the animal died about 3 p.m., after having endured a 27-hour trip to Orlando.
"We heard the animal had done well during transport and quietly stopped breathing this afternoon," said Katie Touhey, the emergency release manager for marine mammals, strandings and entanglements at the IFAW. "We thought the animal was going to make it, and when we heard it didn't, it was tough."
Touhey said a necropsy, an autopsy for an animal, will be preformed soon to determine the cause of death.
The loss stunned animal lovers and experts.
"I can't help but feel sad when an animal dies after so much effort trying to save him," Touhey said. "Nature does what it is going to do, and that's just part of reality."
After being coaxed into a net, Dennis was loaded onto an 18-20 foot truck lined with padding about 12 p.m. on Saturday. Feeding it nutrients intravenously and wrapping it in a heating blanket to raise its temperature, crews drove the manatee to the rehabilitation center in Orlando.
Chris Cutter, spokesperson for the IFAW, said officials believe the manatee was a juvenile, about 9 feet long and approximately 800-pounds.
"This was the farthest north they have spotted one," Cutter said. "He was in pretty bad shape when they pulled him from the water, but were able to calm him on the way down."
Touhey said the manatee was first spotted September 24 near Fall River, but when it lingered in Sesuit Harbor, volunteers and IFAW workers began working to capture and remove it to safer environs for treatment and release.
When Dennis was pulled from the water, his body temperature was 73 degrees, 24 degrees below normal, Cutter said. During transport, crews were able to raise its temperature to 89 degrees.
"The animal suffered from cold stress from being in the cold water and an environment it was not accustomed to," said Lauren Skowyra, spokesperson for SeaWorld. "The animal was headed to the rescue and rehabilitation facility for treatment and care until it would have been released into nature."
Cutter said he did not know the exact cost for caring for the manatee and transporting it to Florida, but believes it is in the tens of thousands.

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