Manatees, believe it or not, are creatures that bear little body fat. Because of this, they are sensitive to seasonal temperature changes and typically only stray from Florida during the summer season. They usually migrate in groups through shallow, slow moving bodies of water off the eastern seaboard. “Travel corridors, or passageways, are necessary for manatees to move back and forth between summer and winter habitats,” Save the Manatee Club states.
Last fall, “Goose” the manatee took a wrong turn and had to be rescued from the frigid Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. He was then taken to Florida to be rehabilitated at SeaWorld. After successful rehabilitation, Goose was tagged with a radio transmitter and released in the warm Florida waters.
Last week, Goose was spotted back on the South Carolina coast near Charleston.
The South Carolina coast is a great summer location for manatees and for people who love South Carolina waters and wildlife. A study done at George Mason University revealed that, “manatees can indicate a severe environmental change before other species or humans are affected.” Alonso Aguiree, executive director of the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation and professor at George Mason stated that, "Studying them may help us predict a change that has the potential to be devastating to an ecosystem or a habitat if left unaddressed.” The annual visit from Goose to Charleston allows reflection of ecosystem quality.
This summer, keep Goose and his friends safe by abiding by the boat speeding regulations in bays and canals to avoid an unwanted run-in. In return, the manatees can help reveal the health of our ecosystems so that the waters can be properly maintained.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will keep an eye out for Goose when he makes his annual trip. They will ensure that he doesn’t make any more dangerous pit stops while Goose will share with them the quality of his summer home. Hand in flipper, Charleston, South Carolina will be able to remain beautiful- in the water and out.
Header photo credit: Ron Cogswell, https://www.flickr.com/photos/22711505@N05/7625075790. Creative Commons attribution 2.0 Generic https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/