Siblings can be a real nuisance especially when they end up taking a life. A manatee died at a Florida aquarium and the cause of the mammal’s sudden death was due to a sexual encounter with another male manatee. The other manatee wasn’t a complete stranger; his brother engaged with him and caused the fatal ending.
A manatee named Hugh lived in the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida, and died unexpectedly after sudden changes in his behavior.
Hugh and his brother Buffett were the only manatees in the world to participate in voluntary behavioral research. The purpose of the study is to promote more effective manatee conservation practices.
After an animal autopsy performed by FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute’s Marine Mammal Pathobiology Lab, the results revealed Hugh died from a 5.7-inch rip in his colon and other traumatic injuries caused by a sexual encounter with Buffett.
The two strong male manatees had rough intercourse that teared up Hugh’s intestines. Based on the aquarium’s statement, this was the first time that they ever witnessed aggressive mating behavior between two manatees.
Mote Marine said, “Hugh and Buffett would exhibit approximately two months of seasonal behavioral changes including, but not limited to, an increase in sexual behavior.”
The manatees were under close observation throughout the day and the animal care team were reporting back to the veterinarians with the animal updates.
Even though the two manatees were seen initiating sexual interactions with each other during the way, “there were no obvious signs of discomfort or distress such as listing, crunching, or active avoidance that would have triggered a need for intervention.”
The vets advised not to separate the two manatees since it would cause anxiety and they opted for a method of distraction. The animal care staff tried positive reinforcement tools to redirect the manatees’ attention and ease off the mating behaviors.
However, it wasn’t effective in this case and Hugh died at the age of 38.