Manatee Found Tangled in Fishing Lure Hooked Between Fin and Face

A Florida manatee has been found tangled in a fishing lure that had attached its fin to its face.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Research Institute was alerted to the incident during the last week of February. The "small, thin manatee" was swimming in Crystal River, western Florida, with the lure attaching its flipper to its face. Fishing line was also entangled around its flipper.

A video taken by the FWC and posted to Facebook shows the animal moving slowly through the water, suffering from its predicament. The manatee struggles to maneuver through the water without the use of its flipper.

FWC officers successfully found the manatee and removed the fishing lure. The animal was then sent to ZooTampa at Lowry Park for treatment and rehabilitation, the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said on Facebook.

Manatee fishing lure entangled
The manatee is pictured swimming with its flipper attached to its face with a fishing lure. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

Fishing lures are small objects used in angling that work to lure a fish to a line. They are designed with small hooks that capture the fish when they take a bite.

Fishing gear entanglements are a common threat to marine life in waters worldwide.

Thousands of marine animals are killed this way every year, NOAA Fisheries previously reported.

If fishing gear doesn't kill the animal straight away, it can cause severe and debilitating injuries. Marine life can sometimes end up swimming like this for years in pain before they are rescued or die.

Rescue efforts for these animals are not always easy, especially if they are in remote areas of the ocean.

The FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute said situations like this are why "it's important to ensure that we all do our part to prevent entanglements." Anglers can do this by making sure gear is disposed of properly.

It is believed that the manatee became stuck like this while looking for food in underwater grasses.It may also have gotten stuck while swimming past someone who was fishing, and reeling in a fish.

Manatees are a threatened species in Florida, and native to the state. They can be found in many of the state's waterways.

Crystal River is a National Wildlife Refuge, and acts as a haven for the species all year round.

Manatees are a protected species in the state, and it is illegal to harass or harm them on purpose.

They are gentle creatures, and will never usually harm a human. In fact, they are often curious and friendly to swimmers in the area.

They play an important role in the wider ecosystem, as they are grazing animals. This means they have a direct influence on plant growth in rivers and waterways.

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