Back in 2009, New Jersey was the temporary home to a manatee, Ilya. The 1,300 pound manatee migrated up to Massachusetts in the summer, however as the water temperatures dropped Ilya was at risk.

During October, 2009, Ilya was seen in Bayonne and Jersey City over the course of a few weeks. Rather than going south to warmer waters, the sea cow made its way to the Arthur Kill. At this point temperatures were around 53 degrees. Manatees cannot survive in water temperatures below 68 degrees.

This is when rescuers and Marine Mammal Stranding Center stepped in. The manatee spent a few days in Brigantine for rehabilitation before Ilya could be transferred to Florida.

Sadly, Ilya's hopeful story took a turn this week. The beloved manatee was struck and killed by a boat in Florida.



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