A female manatee first identified in 2010, Moo Shoo has had four calves
Moo Shoo, a female manatee, joined the Save the Manatee Club’s Adopt-A-Manatee® program in 2018 and was first identified in 2010. Save the Manatee Club’s Manatee Specialist, Wayne Hartley, says it’s possible she was visiting the park even earlier, as there were 19 calves who could not be identified in the 2009–2010 winter season, and Moo Shoo may have been one of them. Researchers identify manatees by their scar patterns as they study and record their behaviors. Unfortunately, by the next manatee season, Moo Shoo soon had some scars. She had a superficial scrape on the left edge of her tail and three prop slashes with a skeg slash in the middle of her back from a boat hit. She also had white markings along the left edge of her tail. “With such a young manatee, I was sure these would heal to invisibility,” said Wayne. “Initially she was known as “S5/10,” and that meant she was a manatee I thought I would only be able to follow for one season, and I would not know her if she came back the next year.” But by the next season, Moo Shoo came to Blue Spring with her white markings intact. Wayne was even able to discover a postage stamp-sized scar on her left lip. She then became “U14/11,” meaning she was marked well enough for him to possibly identify her in the future, and at the end of the season, she received the name “Moo Shoo” and her Blue Spring number “BS668,” signifying that she is officially known as a manatee who visits the warm waters of Blue Spring State Park in the winter.
Since 2010, Moo Shoo has been a frequent visitor to Blue Spring during the winter season, often hanging out halfway up the spring run and showing a playful side by nudging the research canoe. During the 2013–2014 manatee season, Moo Shoo was discovered to be pregnant, and on November 4, 2014, she brought in a little boy calf that received the “baby” name Mandan. With a new calf to look after, Moo Shoo was recorded at Blue Spring 30 times that winter. She also spent most of her time far up the spring run. “She was not the most attentive of mothers, as she was often far from her calf,” said Wayne. “She still wanted to do the ‘play with the canoe’ thing. I don’t think Moo Shoo wanted to be an adult yet!” Subsequent years saw her return to Blue Spring with more calves, and her maternal instincts improved. Moo Shoo’s enduring presence and the expanding number of her offspring underscore the importance of protecting her habitat and the manatees that call it home.
During manatee season, check our Blue Spring webcams for updates on the latest news on Moo Shoo and other Blue Spring manatees.