November 10, 2004
ROCKPORT, TEXAS - On Nov. 9, a manatee was spotted just outside
of Rockport at an area known as Cove Harbor North, according to Texas Parks
and Wildlife Department experts. The manatee was caught on video by some
local residents and T.P.W.D. personnel were also on hand to witness this
rare sighting. Aransas County Game Warden Danny Flores and Coastal
Fisheries Biologist Dennis Pridgen also responded to the sighting.
The manatee was videoed swimming in the area before disappearing. Sightings
of manatees are extremely rare for this area as well as for the State of
Texas, said Capt. Henry Balderamas. A manatee was last seen just South of
Corpus Christi several years ago.
The last time we have seen a manatee (or more than one) was July 2001, said
Karen Meador, of TPWDís Coastal Fisheries Division in Rockport. More than
one was observed off Galveston, Port Aransas and in Rockport. Before that,
we observed one or more manatees during late summer of 1995. Whatís
interesting in all three instances is that tropical activity in the eastern
Gulf of Mexico was above-average. As you know, this summerís weather
couldíve easily blown this animal west of its habitat. There are no
resident populations of manatees in Texas, said Meador.
Deborah Cohea, administrative assistant in the Rockport Law Enforcement
office, witnessed the animalís rare appearance. Game Warden Danny Flores
said they had a manatee sighting and I said ĎWhere, I want to see it, Iíve
never seen a manatee!í So I drove down there to Cove Harbor. I lived in
Florida and I never saw one the whole time I lived there, it just made my
day. We were standing on a dock and he was about five feet out on the water
and he was huge, they said no less than 7-800 pounds, and a full grown
healthy male. He rolled over and his front flippers came up by his face and
it was just too cool!