VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A 13News Now viewer sent in photos and video of a manatee he spotted in the municipal marina area of Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach.
According to Jase Ludford, the marine mammal was spotted relaxing in the waters around 11 a.m. Wednesday.
You can watch the manatee float next to the docks and even stick its snout out of the water in the video below:
Manatee sightings are increasingly common in the Hampton Roads area during the summertime.
A representative from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center explains that if you see one, you should take the following steps:
- Keep your distance. Manatees have been federally protected sea animals since 1972, and getting too close in a boat could cause you to hit them with propellers, which would hurt them. A manatee can also suffer injuries from being caught in nets.
- Contact the Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team to report what you see by calling the 24-hour hotline at (757) 385-7575. If you can, from a distance, please also send them any photo and video you have.
- Don't offer any food to wild animals. This increases their chance of relying on humans for their resources.
Manatees can only survive in warmer waters, so encouraging them to stay local is dangerous, given the fact that our oceans get cold in the wintertime.
While manatees aren't currently considered endangered, they still face challenges related to human involvement. In 2021, 1,101 manatees died in Florida, according to the University of Miami. That's their highest number on record.
We can all do our part to make sure we preserve and protect wildlife.