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CYBER-SIRENIANS

Tampa Electric Co. has installed a Web camera to broadcast the antics of manatees hanging out in warm water near a power plant. The manatees that make a winter home in the warm water around Tampa Bay's power plant are charting a new path this year. Their destination: the Worldwide Web.

Tampa Electric Co. recently installed a Web camera above the Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach to broadcast live images from the mammals' winter hangout.

"We're hoping to get more nationwide exposure about manatees," said Cheryl Johnson, spokeswoman for the Manatee Viewing Center.

She said many visitors to the site each day are snowbirds and vacationers who hail from other states. Now they can show off the manatee views to friends back home. The center also can reach classrooms unable to take field trips.

Web surfers can watch the manatees at TECO through mid April by logging onto www.tampaelectric.com/TEEVMVCWebcam.cfm. Users can turn the camera view on their computers to see different parts of the TECO Manatee Viewing Center.

_ Letitia Stein

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