NEW JERSEY - Officials on Tuesday were trying to determine what caused the death of a manatee in southern New Jersey.
The 11-foot (3-meter) male was found along the Delaware Bay in Middle Township in Cape May County on Sunday. Manatees usually are found in Florida's warmer coastal waters.
“Generally with these guys, especially up in this area, if we find them deceased, it’s somehow associated with the cold water,” Jay Pagel of the New Jersey-based Marine Mammal Stranding Center told WCAU-TV. “It's quite possible this could be related to climate change,” Pagel said.
The center suspects the manatee had been dead for at least a month.
The Rutgers Cape Shore Laboratory is helping with the investigation.
"Typically we just work with oysters and shellfish and we don’t expect anything this large on the beach,” said lab official Sam Ratcliff.