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Herd of manatees spotted this week in the Inter-coastal Waterway in southeastern North Carolina

A young manatee swims at a zoo in France in 2017.
Guillaume Souvant
AFP/Getty Images
File: A young manatee swims at a zoo in France in 2017.

A herd of manatees has been spotted this week in the Inter-coastal Waterway between Hampstead and Wrightsville Beach.

Officials with a local animal hospital say they have been seen feeding by docks and banks where waterway traffic tends to be heavier, and because they are tough to see above water, they’re asking boaters to watch carefully for the “sea cows” that visit North Carolina when the water warms up.

Manatees are also a federally protected species, and any attempt to interact with them is illegal, so people are asked not to feed or try to swim with them.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Program at UNC-Wilmington asks people that see a manatee report it – the form to make that report is available here: https://uncw.edu/research/major-programs/marine-mammal-stranding/manatee-sighting

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to eastern North Carolina in 2019 to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of kiddo cuddling, reading, and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.