Aqua is a female manatee and a winter visitor to Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, Florida. Her first identification at the park was recorded on December 30, 2011, when she was medium-sized and believed to be around five years old. Notably, she bore a complex but faint scar pattern on her right rear flank at the time. However, in the summer of 2013, she endured three propeller cuts on her left shoulder, and later that year, she acquired an adjacent large, white scar. This led to a temporary challenge for manatee researchers in identifying her, and she was labeled as an unknown manatee during her first visit of the 2013 winter season. Today, those distinctive scars have become the primary means by which Aqua is recognized.
Throughout her time at Blue Spring State Park, Aqua has had a significant impact on the manatee community. She has given birth to five calves, with Teal born in 2013, Fabio in 2015, and three unnamed calves arriving in 2018, 2020, and 2022. In 2018, she actually returned to the park with two calves, but the second was believed to be an orphan she “adopted” and cared for throughout the winter season. This isn’t unusual, as some manatee mothers will take in orphaned calves and care for them along with their own calves. Aqua’s presence and growing family continue to be a source of interest and fascination for both researchers and park visitors alike.