After four manatees beached themselves near a small Colombian community, the residents joined together to carry them back to water.
It took about 48 hours to carry the manatees, one-by-one, to a swamp about 2 kilometers away from the drying river. One adult manatee can weigh as much as half a ton. Men, women and children all helped rescue the manatee family, which included a male, a female, and two babies.
“Had we not done that it is very possible that they could have died,” said Eneol Muñoz, one of the residents of Aguachica, Cesar, who helped in the rescue.
Along with moving the manatees to deeper water, the people worked with civil and military authorities in clearing excess clay out of the riverbed, hoping to prevent such an incident from happening again.
“We are doing this labor so in the future (when it dries) they would not die trapped here,” said Fidel Muñoz. “We are fighting to help the manatee species.”
Redditor u/ThatMortalGuy helped translate the video to English. At its conclusion, the residents of Aguachica were tired, but proud of what they had done.
Watch their incredible manatee rescue in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.