National Geographic & ITV
Christopher Columbus spotted a West Indian manatee in the waters of the Caribbean and though he had found the mermaids of ancient legend. But in the years since Columbus first described them manatees have been hunted to virtual extinction.
A small population of about 2,500 manatees survives in the Florida waters, yet the future of these animals is far from certain despite their status as a protected species. The popularity of pleasure boating in the Miami area presents a threat to the slow-moving animals, which swim just below the water’s surface. Life-threatening injuries inflicted by boat propellers are all too common.
Veterinarian Maya Dougherty oversees the care of injured manatees. We follow Maya’s care of Brian, a six-year-old orphan who has spent most of his life in and out of captivity. Rehabilitating Brian and making sure his next release is his last is a rewarding challenge for Maya and her dedicated team.