Manatee rescue now a race against time

The rescue of the Memphis manatee is now a race against time.

A team of rescuers, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Sea World Orlando, immediately hit the cold, dark waters of Harbor Landing upon arrival Wednesday night.
Their first order of business: to check on the manatee's well-being.

Bill Hughes with Sea World of Orlando says, "It's cold for the animal, currently, right now.  The water temperature seems to be a little bit cold.  They can survive for a short amount of time, so we're very hopeful."
The rescue team could not see the animal through the dark, rainy mist.
But they say they have never seen this kind of behavior from a manatee.

Nicole Adimey with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says, "Usually, typical behavior, they come back to Florida, they come back to the warmer waters in the winter time.  So this is really unusual."

Sea World is asking spectators to help make the Thursday morning rescue a success by steering clear of the area.
Hughes continues, "We need to be doing nothing but concentrating on the animal and what it's doing and making sure we can safely collect the animal."

The plan is to net and haul the eight-foot long manatee onto a rescue boat.

Hughes continues, "We'll bring it over to the dock here.  We'll take it up to the top of the dock .  We'll transfer it into our van and at that point we'll leave and head back to Orlando."

Once the manatee arrives in Florida, they'll see how it's doing, rehabilitate if necessary and then release it back into the wild.

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