BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said two manatees managed to swim through pipes leading from the Indian River into an enclosed man-made body of water called a mosquito impoundment. One manatee was herded back out, but the location of the other manatee is unknown.
Several manatee rescue staff put in kayaks at the northern end of the six-mile-long lagoon, while volunteers searched for the seven-foot-long mammal from the road.
"Everything is pretty enclosed in here; all the culverts have caps," explained FWC spokesman Bill Greer. "It's likely still in here somewhere."
The manatee traveled from the open river, into a man-made body of water in an area known as the Mosquito Lagoon. The impoundment, which is flooded to control mosquito populations, is nearly six square miles and is a poor long-term habitat for manatees.
"Once it starts getting a bit colder, they can get leave it susceptible to cold stress because there isn't a good warm water habitat here for it," Greer added.
After hours of searching, with the assistance from the Brevard County Sheriff's Office helicopter, the sea cow was nowhere to be found.
"They can travel quite a bit, but we had a general area where it was but today we wanted to kick up our efforts and try and find it," Greer said.
The plan now is to wait and see if park staff or the members of the public spot the animal and reports its location. You can contact FWC at their hotline, 888-404-3922, or *FWC from your smart hone, if you have any information.