Officials uncertain how manatee found in Shem Creek died

FILE

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) — The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is awaiting further test results after the necropsy of a manatee came back inconclusive.

DNR officials located a dead manatee at the mouth of Shem Creek Tuesday, but could not access it due to tides until Wednesday morning.

A DNR spokesperson says the animal was taken to the Donnelly Wildlife Management Area Wednesday morning. The manatee did not die naturally according to their report and still had food in its system, indicating the manatee was healthy up to the point of its death. The DNR says the manatee did not have any broken bones and succumbed to an acute form of death that remains unclear.

The recovered mammal was 9.5 feet long and was considered mature by wildlife scientists. The DNR took tissue samples of the manatee for future testing.

Boat strikes are the leading cause of death for manatees.

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