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Cold-Stressed Manatee Rescued from Chilly Florida Waters (Pictures)

Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) rescued a young male manatee in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Wednesday.


Biologists rescue a young manatee from the chilly waters of Bayboro Harbor.

FWC photo

“The 7-foot juvenile manatee was thin and showed signs of cold stress. This condition, which can result in death, occurs as a result of exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees for long periods of time,” FWC said in a statement accompanying these pictures.

Biologists also were concerned that the manatee was far from any warm-water sites, where manatees typically go to seek refuge from cold water temperatures, FWC said. “Because of these factors, biologists determined that the young manatee should be pulled from the chilly waters of Bayboro Harbor.”


FWC biologists cover the manatee with a thermal blanket to protect it from the cold.

FWC photo

The rescue took place just outside the FWRI headquarters in downtown St. Petersburg. Biologists learned of the cold-stressed manatee when a concerned resident reported it, the agency said.

After the rescue, biologists transported the manatee to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for rehabilitation.


FWC veterinarian Martine deWit attends to the manatee before transport.

FWC photo

To report a dead or distressed manatee, call the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922). For more information on manatee research, visit http://research.myfwc.com/features/default.asp?id=1001.