Group of Manatees Spotted in Flooded Backyard After Hurricane Ida Slams Southern States

An Alabama woman spotted a group of manatees in her neighbor's flooded backyard Monday after Hurricane Ida brought intense wind, rain and flooding to the region.

In the video taken by Angel Thomas, the manatees appeared to be trapped in the floodwaters. Thomas told Newsweek in an interview Tuesday evening that when she first noticed the manatees, it was exciting because they sometimes appear in the canals near her home to eat lily pads that grew there, as there is not a lot of boat traffic.

However, she then noticed the manatees were confused and "flailing and flopping around" in the backyard because the water was too shallow for them and they were not in the canals. She grew concerned.

"It was really sad," she said.

The manatees were going back and forth across the yard, but a neighbor was able to coax them back into the canal without touching them. The manatees then safely made their way back to open water.

Thomas said flooding caused about five feet of open water on each side of the canal.

Manatees are large aquatic mammals found in coastal waters, mostly in Florida—just east of Mobile.

Newsweek previously reported that there has been an unusually high number of manatee deaths so far in 2021, prompting a response from some lawmakers urging for increased protection status.

The manatee deaths have met the criteria to be declared an "unusual mortality event," the Florida Fish and Wildlife said in a press release on August 17. In the first seven months of 2021, 890 manatees died—surpassing the previous record of 830 in 2013. In 2020, only 398 deaths were reported the whole year.

The deaths have been attributed to a loss of seagrass, an important source of food, as well as red tide, habitat loss and watercraft collisions. There are about 6,500 West Indian manatees in the southeastern U.S., Newsweek previously reported.

Hurricane Ida brought intense flooding and damage to parts of the South—specifically Louisiana. As of Tuesday, more than one million people in the state remained without power. Some people in the hardest-hit areas could be without power for weeks.

The storm displaced other wildlife, as well. Also on Monday, a 71-year-old man was killed in an alligator attack after he was walking through flooded waters in Slidell, Louisiana.

In the wake of the attack, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith warned residents to use extra caution at this time while attempting to walk in flooded areas, as alligators and other wildlife could be closer than usual in many neighborhoods.

Newsweek reached out to Thomas Tuesday afternoon for further comment but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

A Manatee
A woman in Alabama spotted a group of manatees in her neighbor’s flooded backyard on Monday, after Hurricane Ida brought flooding to the region. Here, a manatee is fed at a zoo in Mexico on August 26. ULISES RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images