Rescued Manatee Released into Wild

North Palm Beach, FL--

After more than a year in captivity a manatee is returning to the South Florida sea. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials hauled the massive animal, named Illusion, to the waters off North Palm Beach.

The one-thousand pound manatee was rescued in nearby Riviera Beach back in March 2010. She was hurt after being cut in a boat strike.

Wildlife official John Cassady says her return home today marks a happy occasion for them: "It's really great, especially when you're involved with an animal from the time that they're first seen with injuries to carrying out the rescue, planning the rescue, carrying out the rescue, and keeping track of her as she goes through her rehab process and helping to coordinate and plan this whole release effort. This is what it's all about."

During her long recovery, Illusion spent time at the Miami Seaquarium and the Cincinnati Zoo.

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