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Manatee of Helena

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The 
Manatee of Helena is a cryptid believed to have once inhabited the coast of St. Helena, an island supposed to be largely populated by manatees during the days of colonization. Unlike known manatee species, Helena manatees were semi-aquatic, often coming onto land like seals.There is no evidence to prove its existence, and only two eye-witness accounts have been reported.

Unknown SIRENIAN or SEAL of the South Atlantic 

Ocean.

Physical description: Length, 10 feet. Yellowish 
color. Large, green eyes. Wide jaws with 
large teeth. Bristly mustache.

Behavior: Rests or sleeps on rocks on the 
shore.

Distribution: The island of St. Helena.

Significant sightings: In 1655, Cornish traveler 
Peter Mundy found a dying, 10-foot animal that 
he called a “sea lion” on the beach near Chappell 
Valley. Other animals that were called “sea 
cows” were occasionally found by residents of St. 
Helena (and killed for oil) until 1810, when the 
last one was shot at Stone Top Valley beach.

Present status: Not reported since 1810.

Possible explanations: 
(1) An unknown species of manatee that, 
unlike any known species, has the ability to 
come ashore. 
(2) The West African (Trichechus 
senegalensis) and West Indian (T. manatus) 
manatees are not likely to be carried so far 
into the South Atlantic on a regular basis. 
(3) The South African fur seal 
(Arctocephalus pusillus), suggested by 
Theodor Mortensen, though it is 
nonmigratory and rarely strays far from the 
coast of South Africa and Namibia. 
(4) The Southern elephant seal (Mirounga 
leonina), suggested by F. C. Fraser, is an 
occasional visitor to St. Helena.

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