Memphis Manatee

Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 25th, 2006

Tennessee Manatee

Remember the Hudson River, New York sightings of a manatee named Tappie?

Well, incredibly, near Memphis, the above pictured manatee has appeared in the city’s Mud Island Harbor.

For more than four hours Monday [October 23, 2006], Memphis Police Harbor Patrol and officials with the Tennessee State Wildlife Resources Agency tracked the 6- to 8-foot-long, 1,000-pound mammal after they received a call about a strange creature in the harbor.

"These old fishermen spotted it two days ago and called the zoo to report that they had seen a prehistoric animal, a Loch Ness monster or something," said Lt. Ed Vidulich with the Memphis Police Harbor Patrol. "When we got the call about it Monday I said it couldn’t be a manatee — a body maybe, but not a manatee."

But a manatee, indeed, it was.

Memphis Manatee Slideshow

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. 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. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

13 Responses to “Memphis Manatee”

  1. kittenz responds:

    Maybe it just wants to visit Graceland

  2. Darkwing2006 responds:

    I envy the Police officers who are getting a close up view of this animal, it must be fantastic to see in person.

  3. MrInspector responds:

    I imagine these are quite a spectacle in places where they aren’t common. Seeing a very large dolphin swimming in the river is quite a start the first couple of times as well.

    I just hope these manatees roaming farther about is a sign of the species comming back, and not of environmental instability.

  4. shovethenos responds:

    There are a couple of good streaming videos taken from a news helicopter here.

  5. goobles responds:

    Being from Florida, it seems funny that someone would mistake one of these for a “loch ness monster”, but I’ll admit that on first seeing one in the wild, it scared the living daylights out of me. They’re probably the most docile animals on earth, but if you’re not expecting to see one, they’ll give you a start. Ones with propeller injuries may very well look like they’ve been around since prehistoric times.

  6. Tim Cassidy responds:

    Well, I must say I have seen “big catfish”, including a record-breaking, giant flathead in southern Indiana, affectionately named “Whiskers” by the locals. But, even Whiskers isn’t quite as large as this. Now I doubt it, but I wonder if this is the same one that worked it’s way up to Cape Cod this summer? Quite the traveler if it is.

  7. Cryptonut responds:

    The good and the bad about the sighting.

    Since we are in an age where word travels at light speed, and getting a picture out to the media channels was easy, it was quickly identified.

    However, the “Loch Ness” type reporting just goes to show how myth and legend can be intertwined when the person reporting the curiousity doesn’t have a clear idea of what he/she is looking at and may fill in the blank with something that they figure is close.

    I’m not suggesting that all early reports without pictures are less credible, only that the credibility of the witness and the careful review of their statements is even more critical.

  8. joppa responds:

    Wow. I hope the manatee doesn’t end up on the menu at the Rendevous, or maybe they could put it in the fountain with the Peabody ducks.

    Anyway, if a manatee can swim all the way to Memphis, do you think a Bigfoot could wander down to Wartburg, Tennessee that is ???

  9. mrbf2006 responds:

    I have been following this story since Monday I live 100 miles south of Memphis and get the local Memphis news stations, and the latest news as of 5:30 this evening was that the manatee was stuck between two barges on the wolf river, which can be dangerous for it. Wildlife officials from Sea World in Florida are on their way to Memphis, and I hope they get there before it’s too late.

  10. Ohio Cryptonut responds:

    Manatees are sooo coool! I was swimming at a freshwater springfed river in central Fla. when I was about 12, there were no signs that said “No Swimming” and being young and from cold old Ohio I wanted in BAD. We saw the Manatees across the river and had no intention of messing with them. While swimming in crystal clear bath temp water I forgot about the 800 lb. animal in the water with me. The next thing I know my Aunt gestures for me to come to the dock. She asked me what I would do if one of those “Sea Cows” as she called them, tried to come investigate me? I said I wasn’t sure what I’d do. The response was, “Well young man, turn around slowly” And there it was groin level and as wide as the creek we played in back home!

    Needless to say I swam away, up river toward the spring. Not scared, but knowing that it was illegal to harrass these animals. They followed me! They mimicked the things I was doing underwater. It was until the birth of my son the most amazing day of my life.

    The long and short is that these are wonderful playful animals with a great deal of curiousity about humans. Problem is, most humans aren’t caring enough to watch out for these guys while boating and such.

  11. MojoHotep responds:

    As of the ten oclock news last night out of memphis, the manatee was lost and could not be found.

  12. LOUJACKSON responds:

    October 27, 2006
    After searching 24 miles of the Mississippi River and Wolf River Harbor, experts from Sea World have given up their search for Memphis’ wayward manatee.

    The 1,000-pound creature had been seen swimming in the harbor for several days in water too cold for it to survive. A team was dispatched from Sea World in Orlando to retrieve it and truck it back to warmer waters in Florida.

    But before the manatee could be netted, it disappeared. Now, after a two day search, the Sea World team is headed home – minus one manatee.

  13. cor2879 responds:

    Hmm makes you wonder if this is actually a more common occurrence and we just don’t see manatees or misidentify them other times. Maybe there are many ‘lake monsters’ that are in fact manatees that have swam up river.

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