Posted by: Loren Coleman on October 19th, 2009
The fate of the Florida manatee Ilya, which earlier appeared off Cape Cod and then wandered into northern New Jersey waters, remained unclear over the weekend.
The meandering male manatee had been stuck near a Linden, New Jersey oil refinery, and officials say plunging temperatures and a lack of food were endangering its life. Although the animal appears to be in good health, it had been huddling near an outfall pipe at the oil refinery as that was the only place it could find warm water.
Officials with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in New Jersey told the AP that Ilya was last seen Friday afternoon, October 16.
A hopeful for rescue attempt over the weekend was not possible due to the continuing bad weather along the New Jersey shore from the Nor’easter over Massachusetts.
Charles Underwood, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Florida, said Ilya went missing Friday after eating a case of lettuce and then fleeing into a small river.