Rare sightings: Manatees spotted in Lake County lakes

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Those visiting Little Lake Harris and other lakes in Lake County are accustomed to seeing birds, fish, alligators and the occasional seaplane – they don't expect to see manatees.
 
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers said there have been several manatee sightings in the past week.
 
Wildlife officers believe at least two manatees have traveled to the lakes from the St. Johns River.

Slideshow: Manatee in Little Lake Harris

Raw: Video of Manatee in Lake County lake

Some experts believe the manatees swam into the Ocklawaha River and into Lake Griffin, which is where two were spotted Thursday.
 
From there they believe the animals traveled to Lake Harris and then on to Little Lake Harris near Howey-in-the-Hills.
 
One manatee was spotted in Little Lake Harris over the weekend.
 
Wildlife officials said they believe the manatees will be safe in the lakes, saying there is plenty of food for them. They said they have no plans to attempt to capture and relocate them. They said they do plan to continue to monitor them.
 
Now that word has spread about the manatees, people have been showing up to see if they can spot them.
 
"The water is very murky and it's tough to see because they just blend right in," resident Peter Gelabert said.
 
Local officials said they plan to place signs near the lake telling people to be aware that manatees could be in the area and warning them not to bother the animals.