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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Flash mob manatees woo beach-goers with half an hour of shore-line frolicking

By Laura Cox

Playful: The baby manatees bumped into one another, vying for their mother's attention

A group of attention-seeking manatees put on a show for crowds at a Florida beach on Sunday.

As sun-worshippers taking a break from tanning splashed around in the shallow waters of Fort Lauderdale beach, they began to realise they weren’t alone.

Water-bourne activity caught their attention and heads turned to see what the commotion was about.

Amazing: Excited crowds gathered to watch the unusual display

That's when they noticed the mammals playing in the surf. Some people were hesitant about getting too close and fled from the unexpected visitors back to the shore, not knowing what they were.

But as word filtered round that they were frolicking sea cows, beachgoer Craig Hossack whipped out his camera and filmed the display.

The resulting video was posted on YouTube and shows the gentle animals getting personal with swimmers, sharing their love for the balmy waters.

It has had 19,768 hits since the 38-year-old uploaded it two days ago. Mr Hossack told the Sun Sentinel he had just set up an umbrella and beach chairs when noticed shadows in the surf that he initially mistook for seaweed.

'But then they stuck their snouts out of the water and I was like, no way!’ he said.

Four calves were swimming around each other, bumping noses and vying for the attention of their mother. They paused for a brief rest on top of each other a one point, before continuing to suckle.

Captured: Many fans got out cameras and smart phones to capture footage of the mammals

Worn out: At one point the manatees paused for a brief rest, laying on top of one another

Endangered: Manatees enjoy warm waters and migrate to hotter climes during the winter months

They seemed totally nonplussed by the gathering crowd of fans, many of whom waved smart phones and cameras at them and screamed excitedly as they bent down to pet the mammals.

The manatees hung around for around 30 minutes, soaking up their new found fame before growing bored of the attention and leaving.

Mr Hossack’s wife, Gina, told the paper: ‘It was not only a miracle, it was a gift,’ she said. ‘It made us feel amazing that we were able to witnesses such a thing, who gets to see something like that?’

But they are still hopeful for an encore. ‘Maybe I will go to the beach more often,’ Mr Hossack said.



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