MYSTIC, Conn. (WTNH) – The Mystic Aquarium confirmed that there was a manatee reported in Rhode Island earlier this week.
Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program responded and is currently working closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management to monitor the manatee’s health.
Experts with the animal rescue program said manatees are unusual in the New England area. However, they can swim up north from the Florida area during the warmer months. The Mystic Aquarium said that these gentle giants usually swim back down as temperatures begin to drop in the fall.
This is the sixth documented manatee case in Mystic Aquarium’s coverage area of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Fisher’s Island, New York, since 1995, according to a post on Mystic Aquarium’s Facebook page.
Manatees are endangered and a federally protected species. This makes it illegal to touch or feed them.
If you happen to see the manatee, the Mystic Aquarium asks people to keep a safe distance and report any sightings to their hotline at (860) 572-5955 x 107.