Ilya the Staten Island Manatee Spotted in Miami Waters

By Mariel Smith
|  Thursday, Apr 15, 2010  |  Updated 5:00 PM EDT
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Ilya the Staten Island Manatee Spotted in Miami Waters

Marine Mammal Stranding Center

Ilya the Manatee

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Happy trails, or in this case -- happy sails.

Ilya, the wayward manatee who wintered in Staten Island, has been spotted in Biscayne Bay in South Florida.

Biologists at the U.S. Geological Survey Thursday said the creature was identified by a scar on his head and notches on his tail. These markings match his record in a visual identification database maintained to research the manatee population.

Last year, Ilya was flown to the Miami Seaquarium aboard a Coast Guard C-130 cargo plane after being rescued from a small waterway between northern New Jersey and Staten Island , where he was at risk of developing hypothermia.

He was found huddling near an outflow pipe at a refinery to stay warm. The water temperature was 53 degrees — below the 68 degrees manatees need to survive.

After being nursed back to health, Ilya who is nine feet long and weighs 1,300 pounds, was released last December into the wild.

Manatees, or "Sea Cows," have had a history of migrating up to Massachusetts and Maryland in recent summers.


 

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