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Manatee treated after being hit by boat propeller

A 7-foot female manatee is on the mend after getting treatment for a severe watercraft injury to its tail.

MIAMI, Fla. – Spookey, a 7-foot long female manatee, was rescued in Key Largo on Sunday afternoon after suffering a severe injury to its tail by a boat propeller.

According to Miami Seaquarium spokeswoman Maritza Arceo, the manatee was brought to Miami Sequarium by Dolphin Research Center and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials, where it was treated for a gash in its tail after being struck by a boat. The wound was treated and the animal was given antibiotics.

The manatee is in guarded condition, but is swimming in a recovery pool with another manatee at the facility, which has provided marine animals acute care rehabilitation since 1955 as part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership. Miami Seaquarium officials chose the name Spookey, an obvious choice with Halloween upcoming, but spelled differently as she was found in the Florida Keys. 

According to Save the Manatee's website, which is a national nonprofit founded by former Florida governor and singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffet and records vital manatee statistics, 25 of 135 manatees rescued in 2018 were watercraft related.

Additionally, watercraft injuries accounted for roughly 15% of the reported 823 confirmed manatee deaths in 2018.

Officials urge the public to report any manatee in distress or injured by contacting the FWCC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).