VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Aquarium officials are asking residents to keep their distance following multiple manatee sightings in the Virginia Beach area.
Don’t get close, do not feed it, and do not offer it water, says a recent social media post from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center following reports of manatee sightings.
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.