DECEMBER 12, 2006 - Posted at 7:48 a.m. CST
MEMPHIS, TN - A manatee that traveled 720 miles up the Mississippi River and eluded his would-be rescuers was found dead yesterday on the banks of a lake.
Police spokesman Sergeant Vince Higgins says the manatee was discovered early yesterday afternoon at Lake McKellar, a small lake off the Mississippi River south of Memphis.
The manatee was first spotted in October in the Wolf River harbor just north of downtown. But it disappeared a few days later and wasn't seen again until its remains were found.
Teams from the Memphis Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned to examine the animal to determine how it died.
Manatees, an endangered species, generally prefer warm coastal waters from Alabama to South Carolina, although there were sightings this August along the East Coast up to Rhode Island. In winter, they usually stay off Florida, often congregating near the warm-water discharges of power plants.