07/06/2012 01:40 pm ET

Manatee Lost In Everglades Rescued, Returned To Habitat (PHOTOS)

Staff from the South Florida Water Management District got a surprise while out monitoring the Everglades: a lost manatee.

The sea cow was happily swimming in a canal normally home only to alligators, Randy Smith, media relations for the district, told HuffPost Miami.

Smith said it took two days to get the manatee captured in the net, as it was difficult to spot him in the murky water of the Everglades. But with help from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the two groups managed to capture and move the manatee to a more suitable habitat near the Loxahatchee River in Palm Beach County.

"There was nothing wrong with him, except he was in the wrong place," research administrator Tom Reinert told the Sun Sentinel. "They're not supposed to be there. All the canals leading to that area are supposed to be inaccessible to manatees."

Staff suspect that recent heavy rains helped the 1,100-pound manatee swim past flood-control gates, according to the Sun-Sentinel report.

Manatees have been quite exploratory lately. In May, a pod surprised Fort Lauderdale beach goers when they swam with the crowd along the shoreline.

See photos from the rescue:

Wandering Manatee Rescued From Everglades