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Manatee dies in Paris zoo after drowning in pool

A baby manatee swims near its mother on July 19, 2014 at the Zoo Parc of Beauval in Saint-Aignan, France
A baby manatee swims near its mother on July 19, 2014 at the Zoo Parc of Beauval, Saint-Aignan, France

A manatee has died from drowning after getting trapped in his enclosure, the owners of a zoo in Paris said Monday.

Barry, who was three years old and one of only two of the sea mammals in the zoo in Vincennes, died on August 11 after getting stuck "in an underwater gallery between two parts of the pool that are usually closed by a door," said Alexis Lecu, the scientific director of the park.

The mammals, which are listed as a vulnerable species by the World Conservation Union, need to resurface for air roughly every ten minutes.

"There are certain parts of the pool where the animal can rest out of sight of the public," Lecu told AFP.

"We are trying to do our best with the information we have," he said, adding that the owners have launched an investigation into the accident. "We hope that this will serve as a lesson to other zoos."

Barry was born in a zoo in Odense in Denmark, and was one of a number of animals in a European breeding plan for the species and only returned to the zoo in July.

The park, which is situated in the east of the French capital in the leafy suburb of Vincennes, reopened in April after three years of work.

In the wild, manatees are found in shallow, slow-moving rivers and coastal areas, but are slow, near-surface swimmers, and many are killed and injured when hit by motorboats.

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