POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 - 4:04pm
Tampa, FL (CNN) — A heartbreaking scenario unfolded in the water near downtown Tampa early today as a mother manatee was found dead near Tampa General Hospital.
The mother's body was found after washing ashore along flooded Bayshore Boulevard. Two calves, still alive, were found with the mother's body.
Tampa police officers called Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help with the rescue.
After the mother's body was tied off in the water near a sea wall, the calves clung to her body, bobbing up and down in the water near her. The calves were determined to be healthy and old enough to manage on their own so they were not removed from the water.
The sad scene drew a small crowd Tuesday morning.
"It's horrible,'' said witness Ginger Chapman. "But at least we're excited to see the babies are still (alive). And hopefully, they will survive.''