Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center's Stranding Response Program recovered a dead manatee that was recently spotted near Rudee Inlet.
The center said in a post on its Facebook page the manatee was recovered by the team on Friday.
The mammal was recovered in Owls Creek, a tributary of Rudee Inlet, said Matthew Klepeisz, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center spokesperson.
The team believes it's the same one recently spotted near the mouth of Rudee Inlet in December.
Klepeisz said they have not confirmed any cause of death but think it was cold stress related.
"The body was not fresh, so the animal could have been deceased for days or weeks," he said.
During the warmer weather, manatees occasionally visit the area, the City of Virginia Beach said.
If someone happens to spot one, they are asked to contact the Virginia Aquarium's Stranding Response Team at 757-385-7575 to report its location.
Do's and don'ts when it comes to manatees:
- DO: As with all wildlife, please observe from a distance.
- DON'T: Feed them or give them water. If they learn they'll get food or water easily from people near boats, then they'll hang out near people and boats. That creates problems because vessel strikes are the #1 cause of manatee deaths. We also don't want them to overstay their seasonal welcome. They don't tolerate cold well and need to head back south to warmer water once temperatures here begin to drop. If they have other reasons keeping them here - like easy food and water, they're more likely to make a bad decision and even a slight delay can harm them.
- DO: Avoid activities such as excessive noise, splashing or similar actions that could disturb manatees.
- DO: If practical, avoid boating in areas where manatees have been reported. If you encounter a manatee, operate boats at idle and slow speed and move away from the animal.
- DON'T: Attempt to rescue a manatee you believe to be in distress; call the Stranding Response Team (757-385-7575)
- DON'T: Ride, chase, poke or surround manatee. Also, do not separate a mother and calf or an individual from a group.
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