HOMOSASSA SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) --
Manatees that winter in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Citrus County will be able to stay warm at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park this year.
The park will open its gate on Dec. 3, giving wild manatees
access to the warm, spring-fed habitat.
It will be the first time wild manatees will be able to reach
the main spring that feeds the Homosassa River since the gate was
installed under the park's Long River Bridge in 1980.
The bowl at Homosassa Springs has been home to the park's
captive manatee herd -- some of which are recovering from injuries --
for about three decades. The captive manatees, all female, will
continue to live at the park, but in a smaller fenced area within
the bowl of the spring.