Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Wilson the manatee captured by scientists twice since 2010 (Hugh Manatee Alert)
(Mobile, AL) Press-Register ^ | August 19, 2012 | Ben Raines

Posted on 08/19/2012 12:30:23 PM PDT by abb

MOBILE, Alabama -- There was something familiar about the manatee hauled onto the back deck of a special manatee-catching boat Wednesday morning in the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.

It didn’t have any of the telltale propeller scars on its back often used to identify individual manatees. There were no notches or cuts in its giant paddle tail.

But as soon as it was caught, the scientists were sure they’d seen the animal before. It turns out, they were right.

For the second time since 2010, poor Wilson the manatee found himself snared in a giant net cast by a group of scientists from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, the University of Florida, and Seaworld Orlando.

Wilson was caught in Polecat Bay on Wednesday, about a half mile from where he was caught two years ago in the Spanish River. Since that time, he’s migrated back and forth to Florida’s Crystal River for the winter each year, and, if appearances can be believed, he’s packed on a few pounds.

Working with a spotter plane, the Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Mobile Manatee Sighting Network and a team from Seaworld in Orlando captured a total of five manatees last week. The plane counted 10 manatees in a small portion of the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta Wednesday, and 11 in Dog River. The scientists said there may be as many as 75 swimming in Alabama waters right now.

Two of the five captured last week have been captured in Alabama before. One was a calf of about 600 pounds, described as a teenager by the scientists, meaning two or three years old.

“We lucked out this year because we got two animals we’d already tagged. So we were able to prove those animals were return visitors to Mobile Bay,” said Allen Aven, with the Sea Lab’s Mobile Manatees Sighting Network. “We also definitely saw aggregations of animals that were larger than we’ve seen before. The group of 11 in Dog River, they were all right next to each other. They typically don’t travel that way.”

That group, Aven said, was clearly a breeding aggregation. Breeding behavior was observed in Dog River last year as well.

Ruth Carmichael, head of the Manatee Sighting Network, said that the recapture of Wilson offers conclusive proof that Mobile Bay is an important part of the manatees home range.

“We’re getting animals that aren’t just showing up here searching for habitat. They are coming back year after year. They’re mating here, they’re feeding here,” Carmichael said. “They know what’s here. They’re chosing to come here because they like it here.”

Aven said the Delta amounts to a paradise for manatees, with thousands of acres of subaquatic plants for them to munch on. Research he has conducted shows that the manatees eat a lot of unexpected things as well.

“They’ve been seen pulling themselves up out of the water to munch on Spartina, the marsh grass,” Aven said. “And acorns. They get up in the creeks that have overhanging oak trees. Those acorns fall into the water and sink and the manatees gobble them up off the bottom. Apparently they like nuts.”

Carmichael said the manatees captured last week were all in good health and well fed. The animals found in Alabama tend to be larger than average, leading scientists from Florida to refer to them as “Alabama size,” as in, “That’s an Alabama size manatee.”

“The last three years, we’ve been getting a greater variety of animals in terms of sizes and age,” Carmichael said. “We seemed to have a higher number of young males. We’ve now gotten a couple of older females, older males and mother and calf pairs. The population is more diverse.”

Report any manatee sightings to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab by calling 1-866-493-5803 or e-mailing More information, including a map of local sightings, is available at The Mobile Manatee Sighting Network is funded largely through donations, which can be made at the organization’s web site.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons; US: Alabama
KEYWORDS: hugh; manatee
Hugh sure does get around...
1 posted on 08/19/2012 12:30:38 PM PDT by abb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

2 posted on 08/19/2012 12:31:48 PM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb

Hugh Manatee?? This is series!

3 posted on 08/19/2012 12:33:03 PM PDT by Bryanw92 (Sic semper tyrannis)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: abb


4 posted on 08/19/2012 12:53:48 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: abb

What a total waste of money, playing in boats, harassing sea life so much you are going around capturing them twice!

Is the information so critical right now that we have to spend millions of dollars for it that we have to borrow from the Chinese at interest?!

I think Congress is made up of special needs children.

5 posted on 08/19/2012 1:25:35 PM PDT by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: martin_fierro

They’ve even got lookouts...
DISL’s Manatees Sighting Network

6 posted on 08/19/2012 1:26:08 PM PDT by abb ("What ISN'T in the news is often more important than what IS." Ed Biersmith, 1942 -)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: onyx

Ping! Hugh is back!

7 posted on 08/19/2012 2:07:11 PM PDT by moose07 (The truth will out, one day.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: American in Israel

I think it’s safe to say that each and every catch has a cost north of $10,000 connected to it.

Too bad we don’t have a curious press anymore.

8 posted on 08/19/2012 2:21:51 PM PDT by Balding_Eagle (Liberals, at their core, are aggressive & dangerous to everyone around them,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Bryanw92

You got it! This is vey series, hugh manatees can stune your beeber!

9 posted on 08/19/2012 2:29:46 PM PDT by ConradofMontferrat (According to mudslimz, my handle is a Hate Crime. I just Hope they don't like it.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson