SeaWorld Orlando is sharing the story of a familiar manatee, Chessie, who was first spotted in the 90’s and has been sighted and rescued numerous times over the years.
- Seaworld has shared a news update focusing on their rescue efforts, this case being a familiar manatee they’ve seen before named Chessie.
- Chessie was first sighted in the Chesapeake Bay area in the fall of 1994. It was thought that he was not going to be able to migrate all the way back to Florida before the ocean waters became dangerously cold. U.S. Fish and Wildlife, SeaWorld Orlando, and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources all worked together to rescue Chessie near the Bay Bridge in Queenstown, Maryland. He was brought to the National Aquarium in Baltimore for a few days before being flown back to Florida by the U.S. Coast Guard. Before being released, Chessie was fitted with a tracking device.
- In 1995, information from the tracker showed Chessie was right back up north. This time, he didn’t stop in the Chesapeake but continued up to New England. He made it to Judith Point, Rhode Island before turning back south.
- This was the first time a manatee had been confirmed north of the Chesapeake Bay.
- Chessie has been outfitted with trackers three times but has managed to lose them each time. When he does not have a device, he can be easily recognized by a distinct scar down the left side of his body. He was again spotted in Virginia in August of 2001 and then not again until turning up in Calvert County, Maryland in 2011. This sighting in 2011 was his last confirmed sighting until now, rescued most recently in Rivera Beach, Florida on February 5th, 2021. He was rescued by FWC due to buoyancy issues. Radiographs have shown that Chessie was suffering from pneumonia. He has been given nebulizer treatments, which is a first for a manatee at SeaWorld.
- Chessie has been featured in multiple children’s books, and his story is featured here at SeaWorld on the screens near the manatee rehabilitation pools.