NAPLES- More manatees have died in 2012 from boat injuries in Lee County than any other county in Florida, but thanks to a zoo and Florida Fish and Wildlife one manatee is making it back home safely after an injury in April.
A manatee nicknamed "Caxy" survived after being hit by a boat nearly 3 months ago in April.
"It was called into our Wildlife Alert Hotline by a citizen and somebody who lived in Marco Island," said Kevin Baxter, FWC Spokesperson.
Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa first rescued the female manatee in April with Florida Fish and Wildlife's help. The manatee only weighed 880 pounds, but after several months of care she gained nearly 150 pounds.
"She was released at a boat ramp at Caxambas Pass Park," said Baxter.
Last year, FWC rescued 21 injured manatees statewide. Lowery Park Zoo alone pours at least $1 million dollars into manatee rehabilitation every year allowing manatees a second chance.
"Last year there were a total of 88 manatees that we counted that died of watercraft related injuries, statewide," said Baxter.
So far this year, Lee County is taking the lead with already 14 manatees killed by boaters. FWC urging boaters to cruise safely.
"Manatees will leave what's called a "footprint." It's basically just a ripple in the water. If you become familiar with it, you can look for those," said Baxter.
If anyone does see a distressed or dead manatee, please call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).