I like the slogan “it’s better in the Bahamas,” but it is hard to tell if this applies to a manatee. Today marks the start of week 8 (as far as we know) of this stray male manatee’s visit in Bimini. Thanks to efforts by the US Geological Survey, he is now outfitted with a handy tag that provides a radio signal for real time tracking and a satellite signal for long-term monitoring. The tag only weighs about 5 pounds and since Harold likely weighs about 1200 pounds, we don’t think he minds dragging it around!
Data from his tag has shown us that he utilizes the main North Bimini harbor channel, human-dredged channels with the Bimini Bay Resort development, North and South Bimini marinas, South Bimini canals, some relatively shallow areas on the bank and has even been observed on several occasions on the ocean side of North Bimini – so, just about everywhere! His fresh water source is still a mystery; as far as I know he has shown very minimal interest in fresh water hoses. There may be fresh water leeching out of the Sea Crest Marina sea wall, but this has not been confirmed. He rarely goes more than 3 days without stopping by this sea wall…There are still discussions regarding a capture/transport plan between US authorities in Florida and Bahamian officials in Nassau. It was pushed off for the holidays after 2 scheduled rescues were cancelled in December. Concerns for the manatee’s overall welfare include fresh water and the lack of other manatees. He has shown a slow flee response to moving vessels – and there is also concern about a boat strike, particularly if he remains in the marina and canal areas into Bimini’s busy summer season.
In the meantime, I’ll continue my observations, conversations with interested folks on the island and updating those off the island!
Until next time,