06/29/2014 11:42 am ET Updated Jun 29, 2014

Florida Beachgoers Come Together To Help Manatee Return To Water

Acts of kindness to animals always warm our hearts.

But this one -- in which a group of beachgoers rescued a beached manatee in Ponce Inlet, Florida -- truly made our day.

As this video from local news channel WESH 2 explains, the manatee was first discovered in the morning. Some time the pervious night, she'd beached herself with the receding tide or was nudged onto the sand by male sea cows.

Immediately upon discovery, a crowd halted their seaside fun and rushed to the manatee's side. Volunteers provided fresh oxygen from a scuba tank, while others kept her moist with water.

By 2:30 p.m., a group of Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists arrived to aid the volunteers. They inspected and tagged the animal, lifted it carefully onto a stretcher and carried it out to sea, assisted by over a dozen people.

Greg Fox from WESH 2, the only live reporter on the scene, found the rescue especially inspiring.

"It was just an awesome sight to see people out there taking time out of their day," he said. "They see that the animal is in distress and jump in immediately to try to do what they can to help."

Rescues like these aren't just heartwarming; they're important for the safety of the species. Currently, West Indian manatees are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

If you ever see injured or sick animals in Florida, immediately call the Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922.



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