Lily is one of the most well-known manatees at Blue Spring State Park
Lily, the oldest known female manatee at Blue Spring State Park in Florida, holds a special place in the hearts of park rangers and researchers. She is easily identifiable by the scars that mark her body, which tell the story of her long and eventful life. Some of these scars resulted from a previous fungal infection, while others are a painful reminder of encounters with boats, a common threat to manatees in Florida’s waterways. One of the scars is on the top right side of her back and is left over from a skin fungus. Her other distinctive scars are located on her lower right side and are the result of a boat hit. These encounters with watercraft often leave permanent scars on manatees fortunate enough to survive them.
Lily is also well known as the matriarch of a fourth-generation manatee family at Blue Spring State Park. Over the years, she has had at least 11 calves of her own, including fellow adoptee Margarito. Her daughter, Lillith, has had at least 11 calves herself, and one of those calves provided Lily with her first great-grandcalf in 1999! In addition to her large family, Lily’s social nature is a defining aspect of her character. She is frequently seen at the park in the company of her calves and grandcalves and occasionally steps in as a surrogate mother for other manatee calves facing adversity. Many manatees have preferred habitats they return to each year, and Blue Spring seems to be Lily’s favorite area. In fact, she has visited the park each winter since she was first identified, and she has been known to make anywhere from 20–35 visits per season.
During manatee season, check our Blue Spring webcams for updates on the latest news on Lily and other Blue Spring manatees.