As Hurricane Irma raged 100 miles away, people in Manatee County, Fla., put their lives on the line to save, well, manatees.
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Intrigued, Marcelo Clavijo and several friends went out for a drive to take in the odd sight of an empty bay.
Clavijo posted additional photos of the rescue effort and said, "I$3 t was a pretty cool experience, we rolled them on the tarp and then dragged them a 100 yrds it was insane, now back to [the] reality of a hurricane coming".
The manatees didn't have to wait for the rain and storm surge, however, as a large group of animal lovers gathered to roll the massive manatees onto tarps and drag them about 100 yards through knee-deep mud to reach the water.
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The viral Facebook post has more than 96,000 likes and 68,000 shares. "They are really heavy".
They ended up at a bay on Whitfield Avenue and US 41 in Sarasota where the water had receded leading the local wildlife stranded.
Nadia Gordon, a marine mammal biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told the Bradenton Herald that they are "not actually intervening at this point". "We just let nature take its course".
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Clavijo posted a video on Facebook showing the team of rescuers struggling to move one of the big manatees with their basic tools. "At the same time, some locations may be experiencing the effects of the hurricane 'bulge.' In the center of the storm, where the pressure is lowest and winds are converging, water piles up", writes Angela Fritz, an atmospheric scientist and deputy weather editor at The Washington Post.
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