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Manatees Sighted In Chesapeake

Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 25th, 2008

Gail Hill, whose house in Essex overlooks Norman Creek, spotted a pair of manatees on Tuesday evening and took this picture. Manatees are not commonly seen in the Chesapeake Bay and its estuaries, although there have been more sightings than usual in recent years. For Hill, it was the first time in 34 years that she has seen any of the endangered herbivores. (Photo courtesy of National Aquarium/Gail Hill)

Kristi King of WTOP Radio out of Washington, D. C. reports that two manatees apparently wandered into a Baltimore County tributary of Chesapeake Bay.

The sighting in Essex’s Norman Creek hasn’t been confirmed officially, but seeing manatees there would not be terribly unusual, according to Jennifer Dittmar, stranding coordinator for the Marine Animal Rescue Program at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Dittmar says the endangered species native to Florida does travel.

“We’re not sure if the number of manatees heading north is increasing or if just the number of sightings are increasing because people are a little more aware.”

The gentle giants eat plants and the woman who spotted them tells Dittmar there are a lot of sea grasses around her dock in Essex’s Norman Creek.

Dittmar says Gail Hill did “an excellent job” photographing what likely is two manatees.

If you see a manatee, Dittmar says get a picture. Better yet get Global Positioning System coordinates and the aquarium’s Marine Animal Rescue Program will “definitely try to get out to the area” so the sighting can be confirmed officially, Dittmar says.

Thanks to Charlie Dougherty for sharing this story.

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


5 Responses to “Manatees Sighted In Chesapeake”

  1. red_pill_junkie responds:

    I like manatees.

    There’s a certain sad story about manatees, which according to my family happened some time ago in Jalisco, Mexico. In the Chapala lake, that had a pretty serious problem of water hyacinth blooming, some Maverick politicians had the ingenious idea of bringing a couple of manatees and putting them in the lake, so they would eat the plants and solve the problem; unfortunately, the local fishermen thought the beasts were feeding on the lake fish and competing them.

    They ended up killing the poor beasts, and cooking them in a barbecue :-(

  2. Medieval1028 responds:

    Manatees are so cool! They will occasionally make their way to the Chesapeake but I can’t remember one coming so far up the bay….the area that this manatee was seen is about 8 miles from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. When I go to Cocoa Beach, Florida I usually make a point to traverse the Indian River area. You can usually see one of these beautiful creatures. I hope our visitor can get make it safely back to the tropics before the weather changes.

  3. PhotoExpert responds:

    Well, there was a manatee spotted in the Chesapeake several years back.

    Three weeks ago, I was fishing in the lower Chesapeake and spotted a creature, a seal!

    Although seals will occassionally come up into the Virginia side of the Chesapeake Bay, they are only rarely seen in Maryland. I saw one! How cool was that?

    There were four of us on the boat. We are all avid outdoorsman. And two of us fish around the world together, me and my fishing buddy. However, it was me and his friend that saw the seal. We saw a head pop up about thirty feet from the boat. We saw the creature take a breath and dive. It resurfaced about 90 feet from the original place we saw it surface.

    I know what cryptid witnesses feel like now. We exclaimed, seal! The other two fisherman laughed at us and thought we were kidding. We then explained to them what we saw. Knowing us, they believed us. But it did take some explaining to them and convincing them it was not a joke on our part.

    We get a lot of big turtles in the Chesapeake, that break water with their heads. They are commonly mistaken for other animals. It was no turtle.

    And there are a lot of rays in the Chesapeake. We saw several hundred that day alone. It was not a ray breaking the surface. It was definitely a seal.

    We had seen a mammal, that was uncommon to those waters, yet we were able to shake off our preconceived notions of what we probably saw and identify the animal correctly, a seal!

    About a week later, there is a blog that many local fisherman visit. At the forum there, a fisherman relunctantly asked the question, “Uh, did anyone else see seals in the lower Chesapeake recently?” There were all kind of answers by skeptics and those that had seen them in their lifetime. Most of those observances came from the Virginia side of the Chesapeake, making it even more of a rarity to see what I had observed firsthand, a seal in the lower Chesapeake, on the Maryland side!

    Both of us who saw it, felt honored to have witnessed that. But given the reaction from our friends, we sure were not telling anyone else. LOL

    So I now have empathy for people who claim they see BF. They know what they saw and I know what I saw. They are not neophytes to the woods and I am not a neophyte to bodies of water. Friends of the witnesses take some taunting and kidding, and that is from their own friends. One can only imagine the scrutiny and skepticism that comes from those that do not know the witnesses.

    Seriously, I did not tell another soul until now, of what I saw that day. I am telling that story now. I figure, there are fewer skeptical people here at Cryptomundo. Therefore, I am sharing that story.

    Pretty cool, eh?

  4. Dan Gannon responds:

    Is that a blobatee, or underwater weather balloon swamp gas from Venus? ;-)

  5. Scari responds:

    Red_Pill_junkie,
    Interesting story if that made you sick then you’ll be sicker to learn there’s a secret restaurant in florida that serves Manatees, sick.



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