Recent sightings of 'Molly' the manatee at Corpus Christi, South Padre Island are 'rare'

Recent sightings of 'Molly' the manatee at Corpus Christi, South Padre Island are 'rare'

In Corpus, witnesses said they saw the animal, also known as a sea cow, by Shoreline Boulevard. Tommy Saenz in South Padre Island said witnesses told him the manatee swam "right to" a teen who was taking a surf lesson.

Mark Fisher, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, said the sighting isn't normal.

"It is rare to see manatees along the Texas coast," he said in an email to "Molly is most likely from Mexico, and moves north into Texas occasionally."

Saenz said the two most-recent sightings of a manatee in the area was August, July 2014 and in the summer of 2009.

"Our winters are just cold enough to keep them from Texas waters year-round — summer is really the only time we see them," Fisher said. "They cannot tolerate water temperatures below 68 degrees for very long. Also, they need a fresh water source, which can be quite limiting in some years — not this year, however. This has been a very wet year along the entire coast."

Some online were concerned for the manatee's safety, wondering if any rescue groups were needed to transport the animal somewhere like Florida or if the Texas State Aquarium was aware. The aquarium's curator was not immediately available to comment.

In 2007, an endangered manatee was rescued from the Corpus Christi Bay. That animal was thought to be underweight and moving "slower than usual" and stayed in one area with its nostrils poking out of the water at times, according to Corpus Christi Caller-Times archives.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley's Coastal Studies Lab said the manatee that was recently spotted "seems to be healthy and behaving normal," but asked the public to report any changes to Marine Mammal Standings at (800) 9MAMMAL or call the Coastal Studies Lab at (956) 761-2644. Boaters are also asked to be cautious.


Article by Madalyn MendozaMadalyn Mendoza is a breaking news reporter and general assignment writer.