A team from the Gulfport-based Institute for Marine and Mammal Studies searched for the marine mammal Saturday.
The organization’s executive director, Moby Solangi, told The Sun Herald that the group will respond again if the manatee is seen. The manatee had been spotted on Friday. Solangi said that pictures indicate the manatee was sick and in distress.
Solangi said an IMMS team searched Jourdan River canals throughout Saturday morning. He said the manatee is out of habitat and should be in warmer waters in Florida this time of year.
A team from Alabama’s Dauphin Island Sea Lab was also present in the search.
“It is very unusual to see a manatee swimming up the Jourdan River in Kiln,” Solangi said.
Dolly Lee, a resident of the Jourdan River Shores community in Kiln, said she thought the manatee was a large log in the water Friday morning.
“It started blowing water out of its nose,” Lee said. “I realized it was a manatee.”
Lee has lived in Jourdan River Shores for six years and has never seen a manatee there.
“The manatee has been swimming up and down the canal all afternoon,” Lee said.