3 manatees join Snooty

BRADENTON -- It took less than one hour as three young manatees were hoisted from a truck and into the Parker Manatee Aquarium at the South Florida Museum today.

All three came from Lowrey Park Zoo in Tampa, and will be in Bradenton at least a month. Their move south opens up the zoo to other manatees who have been rescued from cold-weather conditions.

The manatees are nicknamed Cayman, Bolee and Teco 2. Cayman was flown aboard a Lear jet from the Cayman Islands two years ago after being orphaned.

Bolee was injured by a boat strike in July 2009 from Bokeelia in Lee County. Teco 2 was rescued near the Teco power plant in March of 2009, suffering from cold stress.

The new manatees wee soon socializing with 61-year-old Snooty, who was born in captivity and is the world's longest living manatee.

For more, see Friday's Bradenton Herald.