Metro

The Cape Cod manatee is pregnant

FALMOUTH , MA - 9/22/2016: The rescued male Manatee now sits in the rescue transportation vehicle. A crew from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, a marine mammal rescue and research team set out Thursday from the Menauhant Yacht Club in East Falmouth to net a manatee thats been around since August off the Cape Cod coastline. With the fall season approach and the cooling waters thhe manatee needed to be returned hopefully to Florida. (David L Ryan/Globe Staff Photo) SECTION: METRO TOPIC stand alone photo

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

The manatee was rescued Sept. 22 in Falmouth.

There’s a twist in the salty tale of the wayward manatee that made its way from southern waters to Cape Cod this summer. Not only is the marine mammal not male, as researchers and rescue experts had thought, she is also expecting.

Officials from the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the nonprofit that rescued the manatee from Falmouth last week before the waters cooled, announced Tuesday that the 800-pound animal is four to five months pregnant.

Advertisement

“We were really fortunate to find the manatee and rescue her before the water temperatures dropped,” Katie Moore, director of IFAW’s animal rescue program, said in a statement. “Knowing that she is carrying a calf makes her survival even more important.”

Manatees can die from “cold stress” when the water temperatures drop below 68 degrees, causing their organs to shut down.

Get Fast Forward in your inbox:
Forget yesterday's news. Get what you need today in this early-morning email.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The discovery came during a routine medical exam by staff at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, where the manatee was taken for rehabilitation after she was rescued.

“This further elevates the importance of this effort and the care she is receiving by our world-class team of professionals,” Stephen M. Coan, chief executive of the aquarium, said in a statement. “For all of us, it provides a boost to the conservation efforts of this incredible but endangered species.”

Specialists said the gestation period for a manatee is about one year. The manatee, dubbed “Washburn,” will spend time in Connecticut before she is sent back to Florida for additional rehabilitation. Eventually, she will be released into the wild.

Advertisement

Washburn was caught after a weeks-long adventure brought her to the Falmouth area, near Washburn Island. Rescue crews captured her in a net, then dragged her onto the beach. They then took her by boat to a staging area, where she was loaded into a special transport vehicle. After stabilizing the manatee, they shipped her to Connecticut.

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.
Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.
We hope you've enjoyed your free articles.
Continue reading by subscribing to Globe.com for just 99¢.
 Already a member? Log in Home
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com