A Happy Ending For Faye
By Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate, and Nancy Sadusky, Director of Online Communications
When a manatee is rescued for watercraft injuries, there isn’t always a happy ending. But manatee “Faye” not only showed us how resilient manatees can be, she delivered a manatee calf to boot.
Faye was rescued after a watercraft strike near Hontoon Island in early May 2020. Hontoon Island is located in the St. Johns River in northeast Florida, near Blue Spring State Park. A known Blue Spring manatee, Faye has been a winter visitor to the park since 2015. She was actually first reported as injured in Lake Monroe, near Sanford, Florida, and then traveled all the way up the St. Johns River to Hontoon Island, where she was rescued—a distance of about 15 miles.
Faye was rescued with the assistance of staff from several organizations that make up the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) and transported to SeaWorld in Orlando for treatment. Upon arrival at SeaWorld, Faye was confirmed as pregnant when her veterinarian detected a second (fetal) heartbeat. With excellent care in rehabilitation, Faye made a speedy recovery and was released back into the wild at Blue Spring State Park on July 15, 2020. With the help of MRP partners, including Save the Manatee Club, she was released while still pregnant with the hope that she would be able to give birth to a healthy calf out in the wild.
It was with nervous anticipation that we waited to see if Faye would come back to Blue Spring State Park for the winter and if she would have a calf with her, and she did! On December 6, 2020, Faye and her new calf made their first winter appearance at Blue Spring. We are glad to say the pair is doing great and visiting often. We don’t know for sure if the calf is a boy or a girl yet. Watch for them on the webcams at ManaTV.org, and look for updates in our blog posts.