"Dennis" the Manatee Visits Cape Cod

Manatee_5_copy You may have heard by now that a Manatee has meandered its way into IFAW’s backyard on Cape Cod. Considering that they’re normally found in Florida and the Caribbean, this little fella is a tad lost. Luckily it wound up almost literally in IFAW’s backyard and our staff is preparing to lead the way to rescue this endangered species. Time is critical in this case -- with the autumnal season in full swing, sea water starts to cool and manatees can’t tolerate dips in temperature.

Despite the fact they sort of look like pudgy little swimming potatoes, manatees actually have very little blubber to insulate them from the cold. The waters around New England are cooling, and this manatee needs to be in much warmer waters to survive.

Occasionally manatees stray from the tepid waters of Florida and travel up the East coat of the US following a warm current known as the Gulf Stream. This current spurs off the warm equatorial waters of the Caribbean and flows northwards from Florida along the US East Coast to Cape Cod. On a map that displays sea surface temperatures, water temperatures are displayed in a scale of dark blue to bright red. Red being the warmest and blue the coldest. The bright red slowly turns to orange then yellow as it makes its way from Florida through the Carolinas. This trail of warm water makes its way up to Cape Cod, where it turns out into the Atlantic and is met by the chilling waters of the Labrador Current. This is bad news for our nomadic manatee. As the now unrelenting colder waters eek down from Canada, this endangered creature will have almost no chance of survival unless it finds warmer water and fast.

At IFAW, we’re in the process of arranging first class transport back to balmier surroundings for this manatee. Manatees tend to congregate in groups surrounding the warms springs found in Florida, and we’re going to do everything it takes to send him home. Watch this space for updates on IFAW’s manatee rescue efforts over the next few days.

Comments: 1

9 years ago

When I heard of Dennis' arrival down the Cape, despite the excitement of those persons who got to see him firsthand in their own backyard,I immediately knew it was very bad news for Dennis to be trapped in our colder climate. I was thrilled when I heard of IFAW's involvement and the potential of rescue, and in fact, I described to my little girl what you were doing to help him, and we were both very optimistic about his fate. So we were both so sorry to hear that despite your best efforts, Dennis didn't make it home. Thank you though for trying so hard to save him. And perhaps you can take heart from that and know that this experience will have taught something for future so that perhaps the next 'Dennis' that comes through can be saved.

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