Record and Report Manatees Sighted Away From Home

For more information please contact:

For further information, contact:
Janice Nearing
Director of Public Relations
Phone: (407) 539-0990

For Immediate Release

Chessie the manatee is sighted in the Chesapeake Bay in 2011.

Chessie the manatee is spotted in the Chesapeake Bay in Calvert County, Maryland on July 12, 2011. Save the Manatee Club asks the public to report sightings of manatees on the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf of Mexico. Go to

A recent manatee sighting in the Chesapeake Bay near Maryland is drawing nationwide attention. There is speculation that the unidentified manatee may be Chessie, often referred to as “the traveling manatee,” who was rescued there in 1994 and sighted again in the Chesapeake Bay in July 2011. Another manatee made famous for his rescue from cold New Jersey waters in 2009 is Ilya the wayward manatee. Numerous manatees have also been spotted along Georgia’s coast and all along the Eastern Seaboard this summer. Bama and Zewie are two regulars who frequent Alabama waterways each year.

There are always a number of manatees who get the travel bug during the summer months and decide to leave Florida’s waters and head to where perhaps they imagine the seagrass may be greener. Manatee sightings in the warmer months are also quite common along the coasts of North and South Carolina. A few manatees may range as far west as Texas and as far north as Virginia (one manatee was even documented in Cape Cod, Massachusetts), but these sightings are rare. When water temperatures begin to cool in September and October, manatees usually return home to Florida.

Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation for Save the Manatee Club, advises the public to be prepared to report the number of manatees observed, the physical location of the manatees with reference to any nearby landmarks, and a general description of the size and behavior of the manatee. Also, photos of the manatees, particularly clear photos of any scars or injuries, help biologists identify individual manatees.

Slow-moving manatees swim below the surface making them vulnerable to collisions with watercraft. “If a manatee is sighted, waterway users should keep their distance from migrating manatees to avoid harassment of this endangered marine mammal,” advises Tripp. The public is also urged not to provide food or water to manatees.

To report any sightings of manatees on the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, contact your local Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Phone numbers are posted at the following link:

For more information about Chessie, Ilya, Bama and Zewie, and to adopt any of them or other manatees, go to, where you will also find additional information about manatees and their habitat.

Save the Manatee Club was established in 1981 by singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former U.S. Senator and Florida Governor, Bob Graham, to protect endangered manatees and their aquatic habitat for future generations. Today, it is the world’s leading manatee conservation organization. The Club is a membership-based, national nonprofit organization that promotes public awareness and education; sponsors local and international scientific research and rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts; and advocates for the conservation of manatees and their essential habitat based on the best available scientific data.

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