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Wild Manatees Captured in Florida River

A dozen hands tend to an unnamed wild manatee captured on Florida's Crystal River in November 2006.

More than 40 scientists from ten state, federal, and nonprofit agencies took part in the expedition to study the manatees that converge on the river in the fall and winter.

USGS biologist Robert Bonde explained that animals like this male provide a rare opportunity to collect blood and other samples from wild manatees that biologists could otherwise get only from rescued animals in captivity.

"[These scientists] are very anxious to get as much information as they can to supplement what they're learning in clinics and hospitals about manatees [with] what they can get from a natural population," he said.

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Photograph by Blake de Pastino/NGS
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