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Manatees In Dangerous Waters

February 14th, 2008 by flanews

Marine Biologist fear for the safety of several manatees spending the winter in the panhandle. The endangered species normally travels south for the winter and the dozen of so that stayed in northern Florida could be in trouble. As Whitney Ray tells us, one of the sea cows had to be rescued and now wildlife experts are keeping a close eye on the remaining mammals.

Hear it here: Manatees In Dangerous Waters

Its rare to see and its Valentines Day to boot, but these manatees are mating.
But theres a problem, these manatees have wondered into dangerous territory. The endangered species are warm-blooded and should have moved to warmer water by now.

Theyre in okay water as long as they say at the springs. The water coming out there is about 69 degrees or so which is warm enough to keep them alive, if they get much down stream of that, the water can cool down quiet a bit and they can put them at risk, said Scott Calleson, a wildlife biologist

About ten of manatees remain in the Wakulla River. Wildlife experts said this is the most theyve ever seen this far north in February. Tuesday wildlife experts were on the river desperately trying to save a two year-old manatee that was in pretty bad shape.

It laid in the swimming area, in the shallow area, most of the day. It didnt eat it was breathing more frequently, so that kind of caused us some concerns, Sandy Cook a park ranger at Wakulla Springs Park.

The manatee was suffering from hypothermia. It was taken to a Tampa Zoo. Now park rangers are keeping an eye on the remaining mammals, but theyre not the only ones.

It seems very unusual, that theyve been here this time of year, Lisa Fowler.

Fowler has been visiting the park for years. She hopes the weather holds out so all the animals survive.

Hopefully if they stay the weather will cooperate, theyll say warm for the rest of the winter, maybe theyll be okay, Flower said.

If the manatees dont swim south soon, they may have to be moved. The Manatee that was rescued Tuesday is being treated for cold stress. Experts arent sure if the animal will make a full recovery.

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