19 manatees rescued from Florida drainpipe

2015-02-24 19:43

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Miami - A herd of 19 manatees was rescued in Florida on Tuesday after becoming trapped in a drainpipe while they searched for warm waters.

The manatees got stuck on Monday off the shore of Satellite Beach, prompting a 10-hour rescue operation by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Sea World to free the large mammals.

Officials applauded the rescue team after the lengthy mission to free the manatees, some of which were injured during the ordeal.

"A 'Job Well Done' to the Satellite Beach Fire Department's Technical Rescue staff who spent hours inside the small storm water pipes underground assisting FWC and Sea World to locate and assess each manatee," Satellite Beach fire department posted on Facebook.

"Thank you to the hundreds of citizens who came to support, and cheer the team during this 10 hour operation," it added.

The animals were given some time to rest before being returned to Indian River Lagoon off the east coast of Florida.

Manatees, which are common in Florida's waters, can measure up to four meters long and weigh as much as 590kg.

Nicknamed "sea cows" for their large size, the aquatic mammals are herbivores and like warm waters.

Recent cool temperatures in Florida likely pushed the herd to seek warmer wading water, Satellite Beach Fire Chief Don Hughes told Florida Today.

"It's been cold lately and these canals are all filled with manatees," he said.

"They will go wherever there's warm water."

Read more on:    us  |  marine life

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