manatee-aboard-plane-uscoastgrd.jpgIn a journey familiar to retirees but not sea mammals, Ilya the wayward manatee flew south for the winter Thursday after being rescued from a chilly New Jersey creek.

Now he’s back in Miami, with all the lettuce he can eat and even some female companionship.

Ilya was flown south aboard a Coast Guard C-130 cargo plane after being rescued Monday from a small waterway between northern New Jersey and Staten Island, N.Y.

It took more than 30 rescuers and 7 1/2 hours to corral Ilya in a 300-foot fishing net, drag him onto a muddy creek bed and lift him by a crane onto a stretcher.

(Continue reading AP story at MSNBC)

WATCH the video from the Coast Guard below…


Wayward manatee rescued in N.J. is flown to safety


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