Manatee found dead on banks of McKellar Lake

A manatee that traveled 720 miles up the Mississippi River to Memphis in October and eluded his would-be rescuers was found dead today on the banks of a lake.

Police said the manatee was discovered around 1:30 p.m. at Lake McKellar, a slackwater lake off the Mississippi River south of Memphis.

The manatee was first spotted in October in the Wolf River harbor just north of the densely populated downtown area. But the animal disappeared a few days later and wasn't seen again until its body was found today.

Sea World officials say they have no plans to return to Memphis at this time.  The Memphis Zoo will be working with Harbor Patrol on the recovery.

Manatees, an endangered species, generally prefer warm coastal waters ranging from Alabama to South Carolina, although there were sightings this August along the Eastern coast up to Rhode Island.

In winter months, they usually stay in the coastal waters of Florida, often congregating near the warm-water discharges of power plants.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)