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Endangered manatee arrives at Sea World in serious condition

Marine mammal experts say manatee not out of the woods


SAN ANTONIO – A West Indian manatee rescued from Trinity Bay has been in a rehab tank at Sea World for the last 24 hours.

He was and still is barely mobile and has not yet eaten any of the romaine lettuce floating on the water all around him.

The yet to-be-named mammal arrived with a dangerously low core temperature.

"The water temperature there was, at the time, about 60 degrees and dropping. Manatees are normally found in waters that are 70 degrees and higher and when it gets below 70 they start dropping a lot of calories and it starts becoming a life-threatening issue," said Sea World Vice President of Zoological Operations, Chris Bellows.

Bellows says one day later the manatee is still not out of the woods, but they have been able to raise his body temperature.

"We've administered fluids to him, some antibiotics some medical care, but hopefully he'll turn around and start eating," Bellows said.

The manatee weighed in at 950 pounds Wednesday, which is actually about 150 to 250 pounds underweight.

Bellows said every breath he takes is tracked and charted.

Even if the manatee gets his appetite back, Bellows said it could still be spring before he is well enough to make the trip back to the Florida coast.