Return-path: <email@example.com> Received: from whale.simmons.edu by VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU (PMDF V5.0-4 #8767) id <01I2HC90Q0HS9ANVRT@VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU> for whalenet@VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU; Mon, 18 Mar 1996 10:49:16 -0400 (EDT) Received: by whale.simmons.edu (4.1/SMI-4.1) id AA26252; Mon, 18 Mar 1996 10:44:37 -0500 (EST) Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 10:44:37 -0500 (EST) From: Michael Williamson <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Info: EXP--Roving Manatee (fwd) To: WhaleNet <whalenet@VMSVAX.SIMMONS.EDU>, email@example.com Message-id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.960318104420.25702I-100000@WHALE.SIMMONS.EDU> MIME-version: 1.0 Content-type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII Content-transfer-encoding: 7BIT ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 12 Mar 96 12:39:00 UTC 0000 From: firstname.lastname@example.org To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: EXP--Roving Manatee EXP--Roving Manatee By KAREN SCHWARTZ Associated Press Writer NEW YORK (AP) -- It's like one of those old vaudeville jokes. Where does a 1,200-pound mammal go? Answer: Anywhere it wants. And when the animal is a baby-faced manatee who is sighted more often than Elvis, the trip attracts an extraordinary amount of attention. Meet Chessie, who for the past two summers has made his way north up the Atlantic Coast from Florida, becoming the first documented manatee to reach New England. Like all free spirits, Chessie isn't to be taken for granted. He's made it a habit to ditch the satellite transmitter researchers used to track him. Scientists, and the rest of us, wonder whether he'll do it again this summer. Chessie gained his first round of fans -- and his name -- in 1994 when he made his way up to Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Since manatees cannot survive in waters colder than 65 degrees, concerned scientists trapped and airlifted him back to Florida in October 1994. Before releasing the 10-foot-long Chessie, a floating radio beacon was tethered to a collar around his tail to transmit data that allowed researchers to pinpoint his location to within about 500 feet. Two weeks later, the transmitter, designed to release if it became entangled, broke off. It was January 1995 before he was tagged again. As the summer of '95 moved in, Chessie moved on. Beginning in mid-June, Chessie headed up the coast, often traveling 20 to 30 miles per day. The 2,000-mile tour of 11 coastal states set records for the longest documented seasonal migration for a manatee and also the most northern location. His trip to Point Judith, R.I., "was probably a combination of the fact that he was curious about exploring the coast and also that the waters were quite warm," said Jim Reid, a biologist with the National Biological Service's Sirenia Project in Gainsville, Fla. Water temperatures along Chessie's route averaged about 8 degrees above normal. After reaching Point Judith in August, Chessie turned around and again headed south, breaking free of the transmitter off the coast of Connecticut. After that, his progress was tracked through sightings reported by the public. By late September he had reached Virginia. By Thanksgiving, he was spotted off the Florida coast. "Chessie never spent more than three days in any one place during his trip," Reid said. Because individual manatees often repeat their migratory routes, Reid said it is likely that Chessie will head north again this summer. Although more than 150 manatees have been monitored in the United States over the past 10 years without any having taken a similar summer vacation, Reid believes Chessie's trip may not be completely out of the ordinary. "People have tried to make him into a bizarre case -- like Chessie is a crazy manatee -- but in fact he's an adult, experienced with migrating along the coast. Chessie is showing us fully the capabilities of the species," Reid said. Although most manatees summer in Florida or southern Georgia, "There is no reason to think that this manatee or others either have not done this in the past or will not do it in the future," Reid said. Manatees are herbivores with no natural predators, and have a natural life expectancy of 50 or 60 years. However, since they surface to breathe and often feed in shallow water, they are susceptible to boat collisions. In fact, of the 2,000 manatee deaths recorded in Florida from 1976 to June 1993, 527 of those were attributed to collisions with boats. An additional 150 died as the result of other human activities. Even Chessie bears marks that lead scientists to believe he has already been hit at least once by a boat. "He stands out because he's only got one gray scar," said Kit Curtin, a researcher who tracks the mammals for the Save the Manatee Club. "About 90 percent of the animals we see have many scars from boat propellers." With about 2,600 manatees surviving in the UnitedStates, they are today listed as an endangered species. Manatees are hunted in other countries, so biologists have no idea how many survive worldwide. In the United States, a person who injures or harasses a manatee could be fined up to $100,000 and sent to prison for a year under the Endangered Species Act. As for Chessie, he's been wintering in Florida, and was spotted in Port Everglades last month, where he was fitted with a new transmitter. As summer, and Chessie's travel season, approach, researchers can only hope he won't leave home without it.