Blue Spring manatee finally set free from bike tire

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One manatee at Orange City’s Blue State Spring Park knows how to roll with the shackles.

Last month, a manatee at the state park and popular manatee watering hole was spotted with a bike tire stuck around its neck. Images first captured of the resilient sea cow by Floridiana Magazine‘s Doris Keeler look as though the tire had been on the manatee since it was younger, its edges digging into the animal’s skin as it grew.

“It’s enough to see the manatees with the scars on their backs from the boats but when you see something that’s a bicycle tire around it,” she told Fox 35 News. “That’s what’s heartbreaking the most.”

After several attempts, many of which resulted in the manatee slipping away down St. John’s River, officials confirmed the manatee was rescued, set free of its tire collar and is in good health.

Rescue volunteers nicknamed the manatee “Wheelie,” a reminder to laugh and swim on, despite the the things life fastens around our necks, but also to throw garbage where it belongs, rather than into Florida‘s waterways.

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