Info: manatee in Texas

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 9 Dec 1995 08:56:11

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From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: manatee in Texas
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Subj:	Manatee in Houston eludes capt
 
Date:         Fri, 8 Dec 1995 21:31:30 -0800
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Subject:      Manatee in Houston eludes capt
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Manatee in Houston eludes capture
 
     HOUSTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- An eight-foot-long manatee in Houston's
Buffalo Bayou eluded wildlife experts' initial attempt Wednesday to net
it for relocation, and officials said they will try again once the
manatee reappears.
   The manatee, an endangered species, will be taken to Sea World of San
Antonio for medical tests and eventually is expected to be released
along the coast of Florida or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, said Ron
Jones, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist.
   The manatee, which is a rare sight in Texas waters, was seen Tuesday
near a city wastewater plant, which is where he was first spotted last
week.
   "I wish he would have gone home," Jones said. "This (manatee
capture and relation) is not something done on a daily basis, so there
is some risk involved."
   Capture efforts started Wednesday after manatee experts from Florida
arrived in Houston.
   For a few minutes, authorities believed they had the manatee in the
net but somehow the manatee eluded capture when the net was drawn up,
and officials said the animal had disappeared from sight.
   Earlier in the day, workers put a feeding ring in the bayou along
with lettuce, carrots and water plants.
   A stretch of Buffalo Bayou near the plant was closed to barge traffic
to protect the sea cow and also the rescue workers, said Eric Harvey,
Coast Guard spokesman.
   U.S. Fish and Wildlife rescuers are trying to capture the manatee in
a 240-foot net, which was flown in from Florida. Once in the net, the
animal will be transferred to a sling and lifted by a crane in the
parking lot to a waiting furniture truck with a padded floor.
   The manatee will not be moved to San Antonio in water but will be
sprayed with water along the way by about five people who will ride with
it, officials said. It's about a three-hour drive between Houston and
San Antonio.
   Once at Sea World, the manatee will undergo medical tests to make
sure it is healthy for a return to the wild, said Glenn Young, Sea World
general curator.