Baby manatee found near death in Jupiter

Doctors at Miami Seaquarium nursing 'Little Ox' back to health


JUPITER, Fla. – Doctors at Miami Seaquarium are nursing a baby manatee found near death in Jupiter back to health.

Little Ox is very underweight and has a laceration across his side that looks like it came from a boat's hull.

"The side of the body with the laceration is also damaged internally and looks like it could have compromised the animal long before winter set in," said Dr. Maya Rodriguez of the Miami Seaquarium.

The manatee is also suffering from cold stress, a condition that impact manatees because of their extreme sensitivity to cold. An affected animal begins to lose mobility, which can affect its ability to go up for air. It also starts to develop sores and barnacle growth and finally beaches itself, losing access to food.

Doctors at Miami Seaquarium are taking great care to help Little Ox and are feeding him daily by nose tubes. In his current condition, he can't eat solid food.

As an endangered species and with roughly only 4,800 manatees left, every life that can be saved counts.

Last year, 17 percent of the entire manatee population was lost. In 2014, 30 manatees have already died. That's almost one manatee a day so far this year.

Though everyone is pulling for Little Ox's recovery it may take as long as a year for him to make a complete recovery.