Wildlife experts investigate 2 dead manatees found floating in Miami River

MIAMI (WSVN) - Two manatees were found lifeless in the Miami River, in Brickell, and now Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission experts are looking into the deaths.

A 6-foot manatee was found dead in the water in Brickell, Friday morning. Within a few hours of that discovery, another manatee in the area was found dead as well.

“We were all kind of looking at it and just feeling sorry, like ‘Aw, how sad,'” said witness Florencia Barletta.

One manatee was pulled from the water and onto a boat dock near Watson Island. “I saw that they were pulling on something, and I realized it was a manatee,” Barletta said.

Witnesses said they did not see severe cuts or scrapes on the animals, but the official cause of death has yet to be determined. “Florida Wildlife came, and they pulled it out, they turned it over and saw that it didn’t have any propeller injuries,” Barletta said.

Marine biologists are in the process of transporting the remains to St. Petersburg to be further examined.

Some boaters in the area said that they do not believe this was caused by a human. “I saw the police pulling in a medium size manatee,” said boater Patrick Manning. “No evident cut marks from when it was floating, it was bloated. Who knows how it died.”

FWC are now looking into what caused the deaths or if they’re even related.

Manatees were recently moved from the endangered species list, but they are still classified as threatened.

“I didn’t want to see a dead manatee,” Barletta said. “We like to see them thriving and swimming. We see them here all time, so we kind of want to see them here.”

Officials said they expect to have a cause of death by Tuesday.

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