"I then saw that there were babies that were sticking with the deceased mother or father and followed us for about two hours as we towed the parent manatee to the authorities for proper removal," Brouard said.
Brouard says that local authorities did not take the smaller manatees with them because they were deemed old enough to survive without a parent. He also says that there was another large manatee following close by, and presumed it was the other parent.
"It was a very sad morning for all of us in the Tampa Bay area," Brouard added.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium notified FWC’s manatee stranding team of the dead manatee around noon. FWC says that the cause of death is still under investigation, but say that the carcass was very decomposed.
FWC is encouraging the public to continue to report sick, injured or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.