Beach robbers, surfers and manatees frolic on the Texan coast.
A manatee, affectionately known as “Molly” by the coastal communities she visited, was spotted in Corpus Christi Bay and near the jetties on South Padre Island this month, first on July 11th, then again on August 17th . July.
In Corpus, witnesses said they saw the animal, also known as the manatee, on Shoreline Boulevard. South Padre Island’s Tommy Saenz said witnesses told him the manatee swam “straight to” a teenage boy who was taking a surfing lesson.
Mark Fisher of Texas Parks and Wildlife said the sighting was not normal.
“It is rare to see manatees along the Texas coast,” he said in an email to mySA.com. “Molly is most likely from Mexico and occasionally moves north to Texas.”
Saenz said the last two manatee sightings in the area were August, July 2014 and summer 2009.
CONNECTED: The Austin brothers catch and release a 30-meter-long tiger shark in Corpus Christi
“Our winters are just cold enough to keep them out of Texas waters year round. Summer really is the only time we see them,” Fisher said. “They don’t tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees for very long. They also need a source of fresh water, which may be very limited in a few years – but not this year. This was a very wet year along the entire coast.”
Some online members were concerned about the manatee’s safety, wondering if rescue teams were required to transport the animal somewhere like Florida, or if the Texas State Aquarium was aware of it. The curator of the aquarium was not immediately available to comment.
In 2007, an endangered manatee was rescued from Corpus Christi Bay. According to the Corpus Christi Caller-Times archives, this animal was considered underweight and “moved more slowly than usual” and stayed in an area with its nostrils protruding from the water at times.
The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley Coastal Studies Lab said the manatee, recently discovered “appears to be healthy and behaving normally,” but urged the public to notify changes to the Marine Mammal Standings at (800) 9MAMMAL or call the Coastal Studies Lab at (956) 761-2644. Boaters are also asked to be careful.
Madalyn Mendoza is a breaking news reporter and general assignment writer. Read them on our breaking news website, mySA.com, and on our subscriber website, ExpressNews.com | [email protected] | @MaddySkye