South Carolina wildlife officials say a dead manatee found Thursday morning off Sullivan’s Island was killed by a propeller from a boat, becoming the second manatee carcass to wash ashore near Charleston this week.
The Post and Courier reports that a state Department of Natural Resources veterinarian said the carcass had injuries on its left side and dorsal. The vet believes that it had been scavenged, likely by sharks, but the propeller strikes was the likely cause of death.
Thursday’s manatee find is the second one this week in the Charleston Harbor area. A carcass was also found Tuesday at the mouth of Shem Creek near Mount Pleasant. DNR said there were no signs of a propeller strikes on that body and a necropsy was inconclusive.
The deaths had biologists leaning toward the idea that something toxic in sea grass was the culprit in both deaths.
Also known as “sea cows,” West Indian manatees are endangered sea mammals that are found along the Southeast coast. They usually live closer to Florida, but usually a few dozen are reported swimming in waters off the South Carolina coast in the warmest summer months