BRIGANTINE, N.J. — A wayward manatee is headed back to Florida aboard a transport jet after being rescued from murky waters near a New Jersey oil refinery.
Ilya was loaded aboard a plane that took off this morning from Atlantic City for a Miami Coast Guard base. The ultimate destination? The Miami Seaquarium.
The sea cow was pulled from a creek at a Linden oil refinery Monday and recuperated at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine.
Federal wildlife authorities kept the rescue a secret, fearing reporters and well-wishers could stress the manatee.
Ilya needed to be rescued because New Jersey’s waters are too cold for him. He’s been migrating as far north as Massachusetts for the past decade but dithered too long in New Jersey this year.