Posts Tagged 'manatee'

A manatee in Maryland

Last week, the Aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue team was surprised by reports of a manatee spotted in the upper Patapsco River very near Baltimore. Since then, additional reports of a manatee sighting have been made. Aquarium staff are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to monitor sightings and the condition of the manatee.

It might sound impossible, but the Aquarium has documented manatee sightings in Maryland for the last 10 years. 

Earlier this summer, we documented several manatee sightings in the upper Patapsco River, with the last (until now) confirmed sighting in August (as seen in the photo, courtesy of Ryan Neal).

Manatees typically travel up the East Coast from Florida in the warm summer months – July through September. Maryland’s water temperatures in the summer months are warm enough for the manatees, and the Chesapeake Bay has an abundance of submerged sea grasses that manatees eat as their main source of food.

However, as the water temperatures being to drop in our area, the manatees should instinctively begin to head south again – back to warmer waters. Current water temperatures around the area are holding around 66-67 degrees during the day, but more shallow areas are dipping down into the lower 60s at night. Manatees need to be in temperatures of at least 68 degrees to survive, which is why we are paying very close attention to these sightings.

Last year, a manatee that traveled through Maryland in the summer ended up getting stuck in the cold waters of New Jersey in October. Eventually, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated an effort to rescue and transport the manatee to the Miami Seaquarium in Florida. The Miami Seaquarium rehabilitated the manatee and then released him back into the warm waters off the Miami coast.

For now, the National Aquarium is monitoring the area by land, air and sea to determine location and health of this manatee. You can help by reporting any sightings to the stranding hotline at 410-373-0083, or by submitting recent photos of the manatee to marp@aqua.org.

Ilya the manatee returns home

We are happy to share that Ilya, the wayward manatee who made an amazing journey up the East Coast this past summer, has finally made it home safely to the warm waters of Florida. His journey was an incredible story of many organizations, across many states, coming together to help an animal who lost its way.

The first confirmed sighting of Ilya was in Havre de Grace, Maryland back in July by the National Aquarium’s animal rescue team. The Aquarium and the Coast Guard kept tabs on the animal to ensure its safety and monitor its movements while in Maryland. Ilya continued to travel north and ended up in North Jersey. All along the way marine animal rescue groups, the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the Coast Guard were keeping a close watch on Ilya.

Manatees need to be in water temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive.  Most who wander north make it back safely on their own before water temperatures drop, but in Ilya’s case, officials agreed that a human rescue effort would give him the best chance at surviving. In October, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated an effort to rescue and transport Ilya to the Miami SeaAquarium in Florida. The Miami SeaAquarium rehabilitated Ilya for a few months and released him back into the warm waters of the Miami coast on Wednesday.

For more on Ilya’s rehab and release, check out this video:

 

Ilya the manatee still visiting the bay

The National Aquarium has confirmed another sighting of manatee “Ilya”, reported yesterday in Perryville by Town Commissioner Gary Tennis. The animals appears to be moving freely between the top of the Bay and the Susquehanna River.

Take a look at our video of “Ilya”! The footage was taken by the Harve de Grace police department when he was first spotted on Saturday.  

The Aquarium and the Coast Guard will continue to keep tabs on Ilya to ensure his safety and monitor his movements. The Aquarium reminds local boaters and others at play around the Bay to be aware that the animal is still in the vicinity, and to use common sense practices to keep themselves and the manatee safe. Sightings should be reported to the Maryland Natural Resources Police Stranding Hotline: 1-800-628-9944.

Special visitor to the bay

The Bay has a special summer visitor! The National Aquarium’s marine animal rescue team has confirmed a manatee sighting in Havre de Grace, MD over the weekend. The Aquarium and the Coast Guard are keeping tabs on the animal to ensure its safety and monitor its movements.

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Aquarium staff members reached out federal officials at the U.S. Geological Society in Florida to possibly identify the animal and its usual locale in southern waters. Because of unique scarring on its tail, the manatee was successfully identified as “Ilya” M1062 (‘eel – YAH’), a male who was first photo-documented in 1994 when he was still a dependent calf.  ALL of his known history, through 2006, has been from sites in the Miami area.

We bring this to your attention to share important information when it comes to public interaction with marine animals. Local boaters and others around this part of the Bay need to be aware that the animal is in the vicinity and use common sense practices to keep themselves and the manatee safe:

  • Boaters to these areas should slow down when traveling by boat in inlets and around shallows to avoid striking the manatee, and observe no wake signs.
  • No one should approach the manatee. It is a violation of Federal law to touch, disturb or interact with marine mammals. This includes feeding them – no feeding!
  • Keep at least a 50 foot distance. This is for human safety as well – manatees are not aggressive but they are wild animals, not tamed or conditioned to human interaction. Continue reading ‘Special visitor to the bay’

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