It is a tragic end to the story of a manatee swimming in the bay waters of Rhode Island.

In early September, the first manatee spotted in the area in over 15 years was photographed in Charlestown's Quonochontaug Pond.

Sadly, that same manatee was recently found decomposing in the offshore waters around Rhode Island, never having made it south as things started to cool off in New England.

West Indian manatees, like the one spotted in the Ocean State, need very warm water to survive. They are typically found in Florida where the oceans and bays stay warm all year round, but earlier this fall this one swam much farther than usual since the ocean waters were much warmer than usual.

Unfortunately the waters did not stay warm enough for the manatee to survive and it seems as though it was unable to get south fast enough.

On Thursday afternoon the manatee's body was found by a boater in an advanced stage of decomposition off shore near Prudence Island and Hog Island.

The boater reported the finding to authorities and though the Mystic Aquarium's Animal Rescue Program was made aware, they currently do not have the manatee.

The Mystic Aquarium still hopes to properly identify this manatee as the one spotted in early September, though the sighting of a manatee in New England is so rare the are fairly positive it's the same one.

Other boaters in the area are being asked to continue to report sightings of the carcass by calling 860-572-5955 ext. 107.

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Gallery Credit: Dom DiFurio & Jacob Osborn

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