Cold manatee rescued from Three Sisters Springs

By Ferdinand Zogbaum, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 4:25 PM EST

Visitors to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River Monday afternoon got to witness a manatee rescue.

The sea cow was suffering from hypothermia. Ivan Vicente, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the manatee was also very underweight.

"A 10-foot animal is usually above a thousand pounds," Ivan said. "That animal was 615 pounds. Very likely that is the last manatee to make it into King's Bay from the cold waters in the gulf. We are very lucky to find him."

The manatee was pulled out of the water, loaded into a truck and taken to Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.

Zoo staff says the manatee is resting in a heated pool to raise his temperature.

Ivan said the manatee is expected to recover and will be released back into Three Sisters Springs.

"Close call for that manatee," Ivan said. "He just got here in time."