CLARENDON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Department of Natural Resources officers are investigating the death of a manatee discovered in Lake Marion earlier this week.
A man searching for treasure along a beach at Camp Bob Cooper on Monday discovered the mammal bobbing in the water just offshore. He alerted a camp supervisor who called DNR.
Officers on Wednesday towed the sea cow to shore where it was loaded onto a trailer and taken to a veterinarian who will work to determine a cause of death.
The manatee had visible scars which could be evidence of a collision with a speedboat.
Manatees are usually found in coastal areas, including rivers, bays and canals. The mammals are known to migrate hundreds of miles and are usually spotted along the South Carolina coast in the summer months. In the winter, the sea cows tend to populate the waters near Florida.
DNR officers say there had been several reported sightings of the manatee swimming in the lake in the weeks leading up to the discovery of its body.
They had been searching for the sea cow, but were able to find it. Even if they had found it, officers say there wasn't much they could have done. Federal law prohibits baiting or capturing manatees.
Officers say the manatee likely made its way into the lake through the boat locks at the Pinopolis Dam. It has been years since a manatee has been discovered in Lake Marion, according to DNR.
After performing a necropsy on the sea cow, officials say they will give it a proper burial.