CHARLESTOWN, R.I. — The rare sighting of an aquatic creature near Connecticut on Monday has officials advising caution to those who may come across them.
A manatee was spotted and photographed in Charlestown, Rhode Island in Quonochontaug Pond. DEM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and Mystic Aquarium were made aware of the manatee and are now monitoring it.
Manatees can travel hundreds of miles throughout the year, and while they are rarely found in Rhode Island, but have been seen there before, including in 2006 and 2016. Manatees live in brackish and freshwater coastal areas.
Preferring warmer waters, they typically stay near the Florida Peninsula and Gulf Coast during the winter months but expand their range in the summer.
Since 1995, there have been six confirmed cases of manatees in the Connecticut, RI, and Fisher's Island, NY area.
Sightings can be reported to the Mystic Aquarium Animal Rescue Hotline at 860-572-5955.
Manatees are protected by the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Officials ask that the public protect the manatee by keeping an appropriate distance. Slowing down and giving marine wildlife space helps reduce the chances of collisions.
Boaters in the area should use caution and be on the lookout for the manatee, if you see the animal keep a no-wake speed until it is a safe distance from your boat.
Please do not attempt to feed or touch the manatee and always maintain a safe distance of at least 150 feet away.
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