^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ J. Michael Williamson Principal Investigator-WhaleNet <http://whale.wheelock.edu> Associate Professor-Science Wheelock College, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA 02215 voice: 617.734.5200, ext. 256 fax: 617.734.8666, or 617.566.7369 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Sat, 15 Mar 97 14:45:00 GMT From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Manatee Rescue Manatee Rescue By EVAN PEREZ Associated Press Writer CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- After eluding her would-be saviors for nearly two years, an elusive manatee that was slowly being strangled by a piece of cord fell for gobs of lettuce and let down her guard long enough to be captured. Biologists on Thursday cornered the 360-pound manatee and removed the ring of cord that had somehow gotten wrapped around her body. They also realized that the beast they had nicknamed Phil was really a Phyllis. Scientists have been working for years to save the manatee, an endangered species. The gentle, walrus-like animals, which can reach up to 12 feet and 500 pounds, are found primarily the waters off Florida, the West Indies and Belize. About a dozen rescuers from Miami Seaquarium, the Florida Marine Patrol, and other agencies took part in getting Phyllis out of a canal in a ritzy Coral Gables neighborhood. Veterinarians feared the cord, used to bind newspapers or shipping material, would have eventually squeezed 2-year-old Phyllis to death as she grew. There were already signs of infection as the cord cut into her skin. "If we hadn't gotten her she certainly would have died this winter," said University of Miami veterinarian Greggory Bossart, who examined the mammal. "This is what man is doing to the manatee," Bossart said. "We're killing off the species." She was being held in a holding pool while tests were done on her. Eventually, she is to be released back into the wild if she's well enough. Manatees are known to be sluggish but Phyllis fast enough to avoid capture since she was first sighted with the cord around her abdomen when she was a calf. Sightings of Phyllis increased in the last few weeks, and her plight has generated lots of publicity. In fact, a rescue try on Wednesday failed when onlookers and news helicopters converged on the area and Phyllis fled. Biologists returned to the scene again Thursday and found Phyllis back frolicking with her herd. This time, they took advantage of the sea cow's weakness for lettuce and netted her before she had a chance to get away. The manatee is coming off a deadly year. Marine officials counted 2,639 of them last year, a record since the counts began in the 1970s. But 415 died, also a record. An outbreak of "red tide," micro-organisms that emit toxins, is blamed for 151 of those deaths. Another major danger to manatees are boats, which last year struck and killed 60 of them.