Millie Still The Only Reliable Coastal Adoptee

Millie is spotted traveling just below the surface of the water. Her large size and forked tail make her easy to identify.
Millie is spotted traveling just below the surface of the water. Photo courtesy of Gary Colgan.

Coastal Adoption Update

By Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate

As fall slowly arrives in Florida, manatees will soon start making their journey back to their winter homes at warm-water sites, either in springs or at the warm-water outflow of power plants. This should hopefully result in some sightings of our adoptees who have been very shy and elusive this summer and early fall. Our partners had no new sightings of Tampa Bay adoptees Vector, Flicker, Jemp, Elsie, or Ginger, and our East Coast and Florida Keys adoptees Chessie, Illusion, and Zelda did not make an appearance either. The only “predictable” adoptee was once again Millie, who was seen by volunteers with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute in the Silver River, but even Millie escaped the cameras this time and no pictures were obtained. It will be interesting to see if Millie will return to her winter home at Blue Spring, stay in the Silver River, or travel back down the east coast towards Fort Lauderdale this winter. We will certainly update you in the next newsletter! Millie is not the only traveler, though—this summer and early fall, there were a few manatee sightings in Virginia and even Rhode Island. None of them turned out to be adoptee Chessie, though. How do we know? Researchers identify manatees by the scars that they have, and the scar pattern on those northern wanderers did not match Chessie.

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