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East Florida biologists rescue beached manatee
PONCE INLET, Fla. (CNN) - Florida beach-goers helped rescue a manatee stranded for six hours today.
The young manatee was found on the shores of Ponce Inlet.
It quickly drew a crowd of boaters and bathers and county volunteers who gave the animal oxygen from a scuba tank.
The rescue team set up a tent over the manatee to prevent sunburn, fed it fresh water, and sprayed sea water to cool down the mammal, which was estimated to be 10 feet long and around 1,000 pounds.
Other manatees could be seen off shore, and a Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologist said the manatee may have beached herself or have been forced on shore by male sea cows.
"It's not unusual for manatees to beach themselves during mating season. About all you can do is put shade up and and hydrate it until it can get back to open water," said FWC Biologist Rachel Cimino.
Marine biologists checked the manatees vitals, and tagged her.
She was then lifted carefully onto a stretcher.
The manatee was brought back to the water at 3:30 p.m., around six hours after it was discovered.
"And a lot of times they will just work themselves back out but she's just so tired she hasn't been able to get back out," said Cimino.