Two manatees stranded by receding waters in Sarasota Bay were rescued with the help of five friends -- and a viral Facebook post.
The friends -- Tony Faradini-Campos, Emily Reisinger, Steven Reisinger, Michael Sechler and Donovan Norton -- left their shelter Sunday to check out the bay emptied by Hurricane Irma, which was slowly cutting a devastating path up through Florida, when they spotted two blobs, reported the Herald-Tribune.
They walked out for a closer look and discovered the blobs were stranded manatees, and they took photos they shared on Facebook.
“We had to do something about it,” Faradini-Campos told the newspaper. “We couldn’t just let those manatees die out there. We shared the pictures on social media and it just blew up. I was amazed how many people started sharing the story.”
The post was shared more than 6,100 times and generated nearly 800 comments in less than four hours, and it prompted action by Manatee County sheriff's deputies and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials.
They used tarps to drag the large sea mammals back into the water, which threatened to come pouring back into the bay without warning.
“Absolutely amazing — It’s an amazing story,” Faradini-Campos said. “It shows what people can do when they come together. I thought they were done for. A lot of situations, rescues, where you say there is an animal in distress in these conditions, and they most likely will say we have to focus on people. I was happy FWC and Manatee County were able to get to them as fast as they did.”