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Manatee rescued from Florida storm drain

By Daniel Uria
Manatee rescued from Florida storm drain
Rescue crews in Jacksonville helped free a 950-pound female manatee that had become trapped in a storm drain. The manatee was later transported to SeaWorld in Orlando to be rehabilitated. Screen capture/CBS 4 Miami/AOL

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A female manatee in Florida is being rehabilitated at Sea World after being rescued from a storm drain.

Jacksonville Fire Rescue and Florida Fish and Wildlife workers discovered the 950-pound female manatee around 8 a.m. on Wednesday and spent about six hours attempting to set her free, WJXT reported.

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"Every life is precious to us. Doesn't matter who they are," FRD District Chief Robin Gainey said. "I've seen people put their lives at risk for a dog, and we get to them."

The manatee named "Venetia" by local children, after the neighborhood she was rescued in, and "Piper" by firefighters was sent to SeaWorld in Orlando where she was assessed for injuries.

"I don't see any big wounds," SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Stacy DiRocco told WKMG. "She may have some scrapes and bruises, but manatees are just amazingly tough animals."

SeaWorld veterinarians checked the newly rescued manatee for a micro-chip, drew blood samples and gave her fluids.

The team determined the manatee would have to stay at SeaWorld for about a week before being released back to the wild.

"No fractures, she's moving her paddle normally, her pecs look great. She's breathing well -- nothing that looks too severe to me," DiRocco said. "After being trapped for so long, we want to make sure that she can move normally on her own, that she can swim and that she looks like a normal manatee."

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