BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A manatee was found dead, floating in waters near Dundalk last week, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

DNR was tipped off by a concerned citizen who called in.

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“With cooling weather, current Maryland water temperatures are well below a manatee’s minimum survival temperature,” said Natural Resources State Fish and Wildlife Veterinarian Cindy P. Driscoll.

“We are still analyzing samples taken during the necropsy examination, which will be analyzed over the next few weeks. Until that time the cause of death remains undetermined.”

Manatees are aquatic mammals commonly found in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina but in recent years have been found in waters ranging from Massachusetts to Texas.

The first live Maryland manatee was documented in 1994 along the Upper Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

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“Chessie” was captured in Queenstown and taken to Florida for release a few days later. Since that time, manatees have been reported throughout the Chesapeake Bay each summer.

This was only the third case of a deceased manatee in Maryland.

Approximately 6,000 manatees are thought to exist in the U.S.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources reminds state residents to report any sightings of uncommon marine mammals and wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, sea turtles or whales. The public can report sightings and strandings anytime to 800-628-9944.

The department’s Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Stranding Response Program began in 1990 and has recorded over 1,000 strandings to date. Staff biologists respond to dead stranded marine animals and assist other organizations in live animal response both in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.

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