Heavy Rainstorms Delay the Rescue of South Florida Manatee in New Jersey

BRIGANTINE, N.J., Oct. 17 (UPI) — Wildlife officials said they have been unable to rescue a South Florida manatee off the coast of New Jersey because of a heavy rainstorm.

The male manatee, nicknamed Ilya, is at risk of hypothermia in the New Jersey coastal waters, as manatees are known to fall ill when living in temperatures below 68 degrees, the Miami Herald reported. Coastal water temperatures when the manatee was first spotted Thursday were in the low 60s.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Charles Underwood said once the heavy rainstorm passes, wildlife officials plan to taking the manatee aboard a boat. From there, it may be returned to South Florida and warmer waters through the use of a cargo airplane operated by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Manatees typically journey home by fall.

While waiting for the storm to clear, staff from the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, N.J., have been feeding the manatee and dousing it with warm water.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Fish
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