OLDSMAR, Florida — Wildlife officials have rescued three manatees Tuesday stuck in a freshwater retention pond after high water levels caused by Hurricane Michael allowed them to wander in.

  • FWC: High water from Michael allowed manatees to enter pond
  • 3rd time FWC has had to rescue manatees from this pond

Two were rescued earlier Tuesday, while the third manatee eluded volunteers for a few hours until they could get it out of the water.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists took vital signs and measured the manatees. They also marked the scars on the manatees for identification purposes.

The marine animals looked to be healthy, according to FWC.

Biologist Andy Garrett said they got into the pond through a weir during high tides caused by Hurricane Michael last week.

"They're coming up here for the fresh water to drink right at the bottom of the spillway, and they're inquisitive. When they have an area they haven't been to before, they tend to find their way in," Garrett said.

While releasing one of the manatees into Old Tampa Bay earlier in the day, an FWC volunteer was almost struck in the face by the manatee's powerful tail. 

FWC officials said this is the third time they have had to rescue manatees from this particular pond in Oldsmar. They are considering making minor adjustments to the spillway to prevent the animals from getting in.