Manatee Sightings Update: April 2023

Wayne Hartley, Manatee Specialist, and Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate, take "roll call" on a cold winter morning at Blue Spring State Park. Photo courtesy David Schrichte.
Wayne Hartley, Manatee Specialist, and Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate, take "roll call" on a cold winter morning at Blue Spring State Park. Photo courtesy David Schrichte.

By Cora Berchem, Director of Multimedia and Manatee Research Associate

It was a fairly mild winter at Blue Spring State Park, and it almost looked like manatee season was over in the middle of February after a record of 12 manatees were released at the park in a single day. It stayed very warm for a few weeks, allowing the manatees to go out and forage before we got another small cold front in mid-March that brought over 100 manatees back to Blue Spring. Adoptees Lily, Howie, Doc, Paddy Doyle, Philip, Gator, Aqua with her calf, and Annie returned to Blue Spring. The season officially ended on March 24. Check out some photo and video highlights from this season!

All activities conducted under permits DEP #02042213 and USFWS #MA791721-6.

Sightings Update: Blue Spring Adoptees

Watch: Adoptee Paddy Doyle and his friends check out a fallen tree in the spring run on March 21.

Congratulations, Annie!

Exciting news: manatee adoptee Annie had a new calf on March 17th! This is Annie’s sixth calf and her fifth one born at Blue Spring State Park. Rescued as a little orphaned calf in 2005, Annie was rehabilitated and then released at Blue Spring in 2008. She is a real success story, adding new calves to the population.

Annie had been using the protected warm-water refuge of Blue Spring all winter, and our research team had been monitoring a very pregnant Annie for several weeks. We were all very excited when she gave birth to a little calf on Friday, March 17, in the late afternoon at the spring head of Blue Spring. No word yet on whether the calf is a boy or a girl!

Calves usually stay with their mother for one to two years before being weaned, during which time they nurse, learn how to find fresh water and warm-water sites, and navigate the waterways. It is important to always give them space when encountering them in the wild and practice passive observation.

Watch a short video montage from our research team of Annie and her calf a few days after the calf was born.

Other Blue Spring Sightings

Watch: A big group of manatees cavorting (playing) by a fallen log in the Blue Spring run on March 21.
Manatees share their habitat with many other species, including alligators. Here is a small alligator resting on a log at Blue Spring.

Rescuing Kasper

On March 20, we assisted our partners from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld Orlando, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, and Volusia County with the rescue of manatee “Kasper” who was very skinny and showed lethargic behavior. He was taken to SeaWorld Orlando for rehabilitation.

Kasper following his rescue and awaiting transport to SeaWorld Orlando, where he will be rehabilitated.

More Recent News

SMC staff and volunteers worked with Brevard Zoo's Restore Our Shores initiative to construct seagrass exclusion devices to protect growing vegetation.

Celebrating Seagrass All Month Long 

March has seen a tidal wave of enthusiasm as Seagrass Awareness Month brought everyone together to celebrate and advocate for seagrasses.

The river temperature dropped to 57.6° F on January 22, 2024, causing 717 manatees to turn up for the count! Aqua was among them, and we managed to get this sweet photo of her during her visit.

Manatee Sighting Update: April 2024

A couple cold snaps earlier in 2024 lead to huge numbers of manatees aggregating at Blue Spring State Park. Get the latest sighting update!

Staff members Shelby and Kayleigh & volunteer Austin at our Manatee Store booth at Valentine Park during the Orange City Blue Spring Manatee Festival.

Manateam Volunteers Shine at Community Events

From welcoming new volunteers to raising funds and educating festival-goers, our volunteer manateam shines! Join us in celebrating their dedication!