Image: Manatee
Karen Pulfer Focht  /  AP
A manatee swims in the Wolf River harbor Tuesday Oct. 24, 2006, just north of the densely populated downtown Memphis, Tenn. Police found a manatee, believed to be the same as the one picture here, dead in a Tenn. lake Dec. 11, 2006.
updated 12/11/2006 9:15:33 PM ET 2006-12-12T02:15:33

A manatee that traveled 720 miles up the Mississippi River and eluded his would-be rescuers was found dead Monday on the banks of a lake, police said.

Police spokesman Sgt. Vince Higgins said the manatee was discovered early Monday afternoon at Lake McKellar, a small lake off the Mississippi River south of Memphis.

"We believe it to be the same one sighted a few weeks ago," Higgins said.

The manatee was first spotted in October in the Wolf River harbor just north of downtown. But it disappeared a few days later and wasn't seen again until its remains were found.

Teams from the Memphis Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planned to examine the animal to determine how it died, Higgins said.

Manatees, an endangered species, generally prefer warm coastal waters from Alabama to South Carolina, although there were sightings this August along the East coast up to Rhode Island. In winter, they usually stay off Florida, often congregating near the warm-water discharges of power plants.

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