RANDY: LOOKING FOR MANATEE LOVE IN ABACO?
Strangely, the opportunistic title of this post may not be as contrived or daft as it looks. The facts are these.
THE FEMALE In 2012 GEORGIE, a young female manatee, left her mum in the Berry Islands and braved the crossing to Abaco. She reached the Marls; went right round top and down the east side; and eventually settled in the Cherokee / Casuarina area. She managed to hole up there safely during hurricane Sandy but became sick and was removed to Atlantis for medical treatment and rehab, before being released back to the Berry Is. This spring she set of again for Abaco and seems to have made straight for Cherokee, where she has now been resident for several months.
Georgie the Manatee as a calf in 2012, checking out the BMMRO boat
THE MALE Randy also originates from the Berry Is, where he was born. He too set off on an expedition to Abaco in the spring, presumably following Georgie. He was seen at Gorda Cay in mid-August and then fetched up at Sandy Point. After spending the summer there, he too took a trip right round the top of Abaco and down the east side. By early September he had got as far as Little Harbour. However, the big question is whether he can, in some way, tell that a lady manatee is a shortish swim away. And if so, will he make the short trip down the coast? And might that lead to baby manatees on Abaco…? Here are some of the photos of Randy’s sightings along the way
RANDY AT SANDY POINT
Sirenians and cetaceans are generally recognised from particular patterns to flukes or fins. The second image shows the notch in Randy’s tail that confirms ID
RANDY IN THE LITTLE HARBOUR AREA
Randy’s notched tail is clearly visible in the first picture
This could be everyone’s favourite picture – almost like a ‘Randy Selfie’ with a GoPro…
RANDY’S JOURNEY & THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIM AND LOVE…
Excuse me while I anthropomorphise excessively here. Randy may only be appearing to follow Georgie; the route and the area may happen to suit manatees who may be a short distance apart yet completely ignorant of the presence of the other. Or else… Anyway, more news as (if) it breaks. Here are a couple of maps, of the sort that the red-top press might put together to go with the headline “Lovelorn Randy – A Man Manatee Seeks His Sirenian Siren”. Pictures, page 8, 9, 10 and in sports section.
STOP PRESS SEPT 21
Oh dear. The course of love is rarely straightforward. Randy has retraced his route and returned to Castaway Cay. Meanwhile Georgie remains happily at Cherokee.
GEORGIE at Cherokee, 2012
“GEORGIE” the manatee movie (on location, Cherokee)
GEORGIE taken to Atlantis for medical treatment
GEORGIE Is she related to an elephant?
Credits: BMMRO + Heather Albury, Andrew Lowe & Richard Appaldo for pictures & reports, Loggerhead Productions, Abaco Scientist