Ilya the Manatee: Spotted Off of Bayonne, New Jersey?

By
Photo: iStockphoto

Someone thinks they saw a manatee off Bayonne, but it's unconfirmed. Bob Schoelkopf, founding director of Brigantine's Marine Mammal Stranding Center, which is set to rescue Ilya the lost sea cow, said the person who called in the sighting didn't leave their name and only reported it eight hours later. By the time rescuers were on the scene, there was no manatee. He is skeptical of New Yorkers' ability to I.D. a manatee. "When Chessie [a famous manatee visitor to the Northeast] was up here, the original report was of a seal entangled in a buoy." If you see a manatee, call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center's 24-hour number: 609-266-0538. If you can, try to take a picture and e-mail it to them at mmsc@verizon.net. Schoelkopf has already called the four production plants that let out warm water — which might attract Ilya as the surrounding temperatures drop below his comfort zone — along the Jersey shore. He warns that even now, "we're running out of time."

Related: Everything you need to know about Ilya.