VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Virginia Aquarium is urging the public to refrain from chasing manatees after one found its way to Hampton Roads.
A rare, unexpected surprise popped up in Owl Creek late Tuesday morning in Virginia Beach.
In a video posted by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center around 10 a.m. Tuesday, a manatee could be seen bopping its head above the water before completely diving in.
“While people should never harass a manatee, the falling temperatures make it especially important to refrain from chasing or harassing manatees,” said the post.
More commonly found in the warm waters of the Florida coast, manatees often seek safe haven from the cold, said the center, and chasing them might force the animals to leave specific areas.
According to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, it is illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.
The Virginia Aquarium says members of their Stranding Response Program are currently monitoring the manatee and urged the public to call its staff at (757) 385-7575 if they see a manatee in the area.