HSWSP Welcomes A New Rehab Manatee

An above-water photo of Ariel rolling onto her side, with some light scarring visible on her left side.

By Kate Spratt, Park Services Specialist, HSWSP

Spring has sprung at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park! The trees are covered in fresh green leaves, our resident animal ambassadors are active in the cooler mornings, and some of the migratory wild birds are beginning to return home. An occasional wild manatee can still be viewed from the Long River Bridge or river observation deck, but the masses of manatees have moved out for the summer.

We have added another manatee to our rehabilitation herd! Manatee Piper was brought to us from Jacksonville Zoo to gain strength in a natural spring environment. She was rescued in 2015 from a culvert and in 2023 after injuries from a crab trap and cold stress. She is learning the layout of our pool and paddocks from Ariel and Shantay. Piper seems to be adjusting well to her new environment, and park rangers record observations of her progress daily. Betsy and Heinz are in the spring run and are very prompt in showing up for the daily manatee programs at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

We hope that your summer travel plans include a visit to our beautiful state park, where manatees can be viewed year-round. Wild manatees can possibly be viewed at other spring parks, such as Blue Spring, Manatee Springs, and Fanning Springs state parks. We hope you include us in your summer memory-making!

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