Wandering manatee first spotted here in 1994
By Steve Kilar and Timothy B. Wheeler (The Baltimore Sun, 7/15/2011)
Chessie, the wandering Florida manatee that has visited the Chesapeake Bay at least twice over the past 17 years, is back. The well-traveled mammal has not been seen since 2001, and his resurfacing is making waves among marine scientists and bay folk alike.
“I wanted to let you know that the [U.S. Geological Survey] identified the manatee from Wednesday, and it’s a familiar face to us … it’s Chessie!,” said Jennifer Dittmar, stranding coordinator for the National Aquarium, in an email to a Calvert Marine Museum staffer, confirming the animal’s return.
The male “sea cow” was sighted Tuesday in a marina harbor in Calvert County, Dittmar said. Chessie spent about four hours around Flag Harbor Yacht Haven in St. Leonard before moving on, Dittmar said. There have been no sightings reported since then, she said.
“It came up about every 10 or 12 minutes for a breath and then just sank back down,” said Hank Curtis, a resident of St. Leonard who’s retired but works part time at Morgan State University’s Estuarine Research Center in Calvert County. Curtis, whose photos were used to confirm the manatee as Chessie, said being one of the first people to see Chessie in about a decade is “really exciting.”
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