1. On the right you can see Mitchell Thomas, 19, and on the left you can see Mitchell, the baby manatee.
Thomas saved this fella while volunteering at Wildtracks in Belize, so the charity named him Mitchell.
On Imgur, Thomas wrote: “This little man was found in the waters of Belize struggling to stay at the surface after his mother was presumably killed by a boat. An adult manatee was found dead nearby”.
2. He tells BuzzFeed News:
Mitch the manatee came in on June 30th…When he first was placed in the back of the truck, I realized what awful shape he was in. His body seized and thrashed every time he tried to take a breath. Each breath was a wheezy gasp. He was in a lot of pain, probably from a bruised rib or shoulder.
4. Thomas says:
I timed his breaths on the way back to Wildtracks and was the first person to hop into the intensive care pool with him. He was lowered into the water and all the volunteers huddled around to see what would happen. He immediately struggled to stay at the surface and I had to hold him up to allow him to breathe.
6. Thomas says:
It was as if every breath he was terrified he was going to take in water. We thought perhaps he had nearly drowned and was afraid it would happen again. I was very concerned he wouldn’t make it through the first night. He proved to be a real fighter though!
8. Thomas says:
All the volunteers took turns; one person sitting in the water and one person sitting out of the water to time his breaths and get help if needed. I remember sitting in the pool with him in the chilly water in the dark at 3am and thinking there was no where else I would rather be.
10. Thomas says:
He then started suckling on our fingers, so Paul tried taping a catheter tube to his middle finger and pushing milk through it with a syringe when Mitch would try to suckle. This worked really well! As his strength and health improved, his personality came out. He was very cuddly.
12. Thomas says:
Without his mother I think he was just searching for the interaction and attention he would have been receiving from her. As soon as someone entered the water he stayed right near them.
14. Thomas says:
A week after I left another calf came in who was very near death. He took longer to recover, but now shares a pool with Mitch. It’s great that they have each other to bond to now. I’m very excited to see Mitch again when I return this summer. Working with him and being his namesake is the most incredible thing I’ve ever been a part of.
15. “It’s great knowing that he will one day be returned to the wild where he belongs.”
And there you go. Thomas also wants everyone to know that if they donate to Wildtracks, “Money will go to milk costs for the four manatees being rehabilitated, the cost to heat their pools during the winter, and to help the primates they are rehabbing!”