Chessie, the wayward manatee swimming north at a record pace, has made history by becoming the first documented creature of its species to journey to New England, marine experts said yesterday.
Chessie has astounded marine biologists, who for the first time have documented this endangered species moving beyond the Middle Atlantic states.
The manatee, also known as a sea cow, was spotted swimming and resting on the industrial shores of New Haven, Conn., on Saturday.
"We have never documented a manatee sighting north of the Chesapeake Bay," said Jim Reid, a biologist with the National Biological Service. "Once Chessie reaches cold water or the weather turns slightly cooler, we hope that he will make his own decision to return south."
In the summer months, some manatees migrate north, as far as the Carolinas. But Chessie shocked scientists last year when it was spotted in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay. Worried that the creature would die when the water turned cold, rescuers trapped it and airlifted it back to Florida. But once again, the 1,200-pound manatee has spent its summer moving north.