These most unusual creatures really get the people's attention when they show up here in the Northeast because we usually do not see those kinds of animals everyday.
The first thing that comes to most peoples mind is "what in the world are Dolphins and Manatees doing in Milford?" This certainly was my first thought and I decided to do some investigating over the last few days to see what the experts thought of our new guests.
Thought the best place to start would be to ask my father a Veterinarian at the Westport Animal Hospital, and he gave me the same answer I got on the Internet.
"In the winter, usually November through March, manatees are concentrated primarily in Florida. Manatees are susceptible to cold-related disease, and in the winter, gather near warm water sources such as natural springs or warm water effluents of power plants. Water temperatures below 68 degrees usually cause manatees to move into these warm water refuge areas. Individual manatees often return to the same wintering areas year after year. In the summer months, manatees are much more widely distributed and can be found as far west as Alabama and Louisiana and as far north as Virginia and the Carolina's.
The most likely cause of their Northbound migration beyond the Carolina's is that water conditions may be warm enough to keep them interested in swimming North. Another possibility could be climate change, pursuit of food sources, or warmer sea water. However, without doing more studies, such as changes in their Southern habitat, it is also possible pollution pushed some of them North and that may be worth investigating."
This is currently a point of interest at the Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture School, and marine biologist's associated with the Maritime center indicated that they have no firm conclusions and are working to understand this very phenomenon but in the past have recovered Seals from the Long Island Sound, also an unusual sighting.
For those of you who may not know a Manatee is an endangered species, and boaters usually severely injure them by accident. They are also known as Sea Cows and can be ten feet long and weigh in excess of 1,000 Pounds. They are also very docile and slow moving so boaters should use caution when entering areas of warm water as that is where they would most likely be. Come Winter the manatees are expected to have gone South, or they may have to be found and relocated to save them from freezing.
The video below is the local news cast.