Info: Lost manatee in new England

Michael Williamson (whe_william@flo.org)
Mon, 26 Aug 1995 15:18:09

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Date: Sat, 26 Aug 1995 15:22:10 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: Lost manatee in new England
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 26-AUG-1995 03:08:47.63
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Subj:	U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE A
 
Date:         Fri, 25 Aug 1995 03:16:00 UTC
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Subject:      U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE A
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U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES CHESSIE UPDATE
 
      HADLEY, Mass., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Biologists who have been
tracking Chessie the manatee yesterday recovered the radio transmitter
used to locate him, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
the National Biological Service.
    Chessie lost the transmitter Tuesday in Connecticut waters when it
became entangled and safely broke free at its designed weak link.  The
1,200-pound mammal on his second annual northern trek has traveled from
Florida up the Atlantic coast to as far north as Rhode Island.
    "The transmitter has a weak leak in the tether designed to release
itself, thus protecting the animal from injury," said NBS biologist Jim
Reid.  "We had anticipated that the tag might break free, but we are
happy that we had the opportunity to monitor this 2,000-mile move during
the past two months."
    Chessie had traveled more than 90 miles west along the Rhode Island
and Connecticut coastline from his most northernlocation at Point
Judith, R.I., before the transmitter detached and was recovered in new
Haven, Conn.  This reversal of his movement pattern suggests that he has
begun his return migration to Florida.
    "This is not unexpected and has happened before to Chessie and other
radio-tracked manatees," according to Bob Turner, manatee coordinator
for FWS in Jacksonville, Fla.  "Chessie is healthy and has plenty of
time to return to warmer waters before winter sets in.  Time is on his
side."
    Given Chessie's good health and previous track record, the Services'
biologists believe that he will continue south and see no need to rescue
him at this time.  They ask that the public continue to support this
endangered species.  Manatees are protected under the Endangered Species
Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, making it illegal to harm or
harass these marine animals.  There are approximately 1,800 Florida
Manatees in existence.
    Boaters and swimmers encountering Chessie are reminded not to
approach the animal.  The public can help best by reporting sightings to
the marine mammal stranding network in their area:
 
    -- New York:
       Okeanos Ocean Research Foundation, Inc., 516-369-9829
 
    -- Connecticut/Rhode Island:
       Mystic Marinelife Aquarium, 203-536-9631
 
    -- New Jersey:
       Marine Mammal Stranding Center, 609-266-0538
 
    -- Maryland/Delaware/Virginia:
       National Aquarium in Baltimore, 410-576-8723.
 
    This year Chessie left Florida on June 13 and arrived in New York
Harbor on Aug. 6.  Last Autumn he ventured as far north as Chesapeake
bay.  He was dubbed Chessie and monitored until late September, when
cooling temperatures prompted biologists to remove Chessie from Maryland
waters and airlift him home to Florida.
    -0-                          8/24/95
    /CONTACT: Linda Taylor of U.S. Fish and Wildlife, 410-573-4550/