Holy Sea Cow! Manatee Spotted in Delaware River

The warm-water mammal found its way into the area. Officials say this is surprising, but not alarming. Plus: What to do if you see it.

holy cow

The waters of the Delaware River received an unexpected guest this past week.

A manatee, the large marine mammal known to thrive in warmer waters, found its way into the northern Delaware River next to Bordentown City, New Jersey, the Burlington County Times reported yesterday.

The creature, often referred to as a “sea cow” because of its docile manner, was spotted at the mouth of the Crosswicks Creek on Tuesday, but has not been seen since, the paper reports.

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“We’ve had no other manatee sighting reports to us since yesterday. We did patrol the area of the Delaware where it was reported yesterday and found nothing,” Bob Considine, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, told the Burlington County Times.

Bob Schoelkopf, the director of Brigantine’s Marine Mammal Stranding Center, told the Times that while the sighting is unusual, it has happened enough over the last 20 years to not be alarming. He added that some have found their way as far as Massachusetts when the water is warm enough.

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As of today, there have been no further sightings, according to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, who we spoke to about the situation. A spokesperson there did however caution that, if sighted, humans should stay away from manatees. They are a protected and endangered animal, and human interaction — swimming, feeding, etc. — could disrupt their behavior.