Hello. I have some very sad news to report to you. One of my manatee buddies, Zewie, who’s been swimming in Alabama’s Mobile Bay has died. Zewie’s necropsy results along with Alabama’s veterinary examination determined his death was a “probable acute watercraft strike.” The Dauphin Island Sea Lab [DISL], which began its manatee research project in 2007, reported this death is the first “warm weather mortality of an adult manatee in Alabama.” Ruth H. Carmichael, Senior Marine Scientist at DISL explained, “We have always been proud to say that we did not have boat-related manatee mortality in Alabama waters. This event is unfortunate because we lost an endangered species and valuable member of our local manatee population, but also because we have to face the reality that even in a large body like Mobile Bay and with relatively few manatees, boat strikes are possible.”
The Dauphin Island Sea Lab first tagged Zewie in 2010. As a result, the DISL team learned Zewie was a regular visitor to Mobile Bay during the summer months. As the weather warmed up, Zewie would begin his westward adventure, leaving Crystal River, Florida and navigating the northern waters of the Gulf of Mexico to Mobile Bay. In fact, when Zewie felt really adventurous, he would explore Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Ms. Dianne Ingram of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alabama’s Field Office said, “Always be alert for manatees while boating in Mobile Bay and all Alabama coastal waters. Use polarized sunglasses and have a point person on watch as an observer. Manatees move slowly and are vulernable to strikes from all motorized watercraft…”
If You Spot A Manatee, Please…
- Call the DISL at their Manatee Sighting Network 1-866-493-5803 or go to manatee.disl.org where you can report your sighting.
- Stay at least 100 feet from the manatee.
- Cut your engine until the manatee(s) are out of your area.
- Take pictures and if possible, get your GPS location.
- Note the DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network distributes free yellow manatee area caution signs to any waterfront property owners in Alabama or Mississippi to alert watercraft owners.
Ruth H. Carmichael said, “We hope by educating the public about when and where manatees are spending time in our waters, we can avoid boat strikes and safely share waterways with manatees. This is a reminder for all of us just how important it is to boat with caution.” To learn more about the DISL’s Manatee Sighting Network, please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are in Florida and you see a sick or injured manatee, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here’s the Save the Manatee Club link to learn more about us manatees …
Here’s a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation …
~ Kobee Manatee