No Sighting Of Bama Over The Summer

Manatee Clog swims in the Weeki Wachee River with other manatees. A tracking device attached to his peduncle bobs along after him.
DISL/MSN tagged manatee Clog at his winter refuge site in Weeki Wachee, Florida. Research conducted under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Permit MA37808A-2. Photo courtesy of DISL/MSN.

Alabama/DISL Adoption Update

By Dr. Ruth Carmichael, Director, DISL/MSN, & Elizabeth Hieb, Research Technician, DISL/MSN

2023 has proven to be an interesting year for manatee sightings in the northern Gulf of Mexico. So far this year, manatee sighting reports to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network (DISL/MSN) have been lower than average with smaller group sizes, especially in Alabama waters. Conversely, sighting reports have increased in the Florida panhandle this year, mostly of manatees traveling along the Gulf of Mexico coast.

As sighting reports roll in, we continue to look for Save the Manatee Club adoptee Bama, but she has yet to make an appearance. We have also been monitoring our tagged manatees—nicknamed Clog, Sanford, and Lynnspin—as they all made their way to the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in Alabama earlier this summer. Unfortunately, Clog and Lynnspin’s tags became detached due to the thick vegetation in the area. Thankfully, we were able to recover their tags, allowing us to retrieve valuable data. Since losing his tag, Clog, who is still outfitted with a tagging belt, has been spotted in the Delta and in the West Pascagoula River in Mississippi. We hope to spot Lynnspin again in our area or when he returns to warm-water refuge sites in Florida this winter. Meanwhile, we continue to monitor Sanford, collecting observational data about his movements, behavior, and resource use. These data will be used as part of a larger study of manatee migration and distribution under changing climate conditions. We look forward to sharing the results of this study in future issues!

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Two volunteers in bright lifejackets sit on a pontoon boat that has a banner reading, "Manatee Watch."

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