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Manatee calf rescued in Bayboro Harbor dies after getting pneumonia

TAMPA — A sick manatee calf that was rescued from Bayboro Harbor in March died this week after it contracted pneumonia.

The 90-pound male calf was pulled from the water by wildlife experts on March 27 near the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. About a month or two old, the calf had signs of cold stress and was breathing heavily.

Several cold fronts caused chilly conditions in the harbor during the nights before the manatee was rescued. When faced with temperatures below 65 degrees, manatees can develop cuts from the cold and have a hard time catching their breath.

The calf was taken to Lowry Park Zoo in critical condition and was given round-the-clock care, said Rachel Nelson, zoo spokeswoman.

He was put in a heated pool, and his breathing and behavior were watched carefully. Earlier this month, experts noticed he was having problems keeping afloat and found that he had pneumonia.