How the Adopt-A-Manatee® Program Works:

Blue Spring State Park: Manatees who regularly winter at Blue Spring State Park near Orange City, Florida, have been chosen as adoptees for one of Save the Manatee Club's five Adopt-A-Manatee programs. Blue Spring's natural spring maintains a year-round temperature of 72 degrees and is an attractive winter refuge for manatees who seek the spring waters when the surrounding river water temperatures become cold.

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Above, Wayne Hartley takes manatee "roll call" in the morning at Blue Spring State Park. Wayne has over 30 years of experience as a researcher on endangered Florida manatees.

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park: Another Club adoption program is at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida.  The park is a rehabilitation facility for manatees who are recovering from injuries before being released back into the wild. Manatees who cannot be released into the wild because of injuries or other life threatening reasons currently call the park their home.

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Betsy the manatee rests at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. (Photo © William Garvin.)

Tampa Bay: Manatees frequently seen in the Tampa Bay area and along the west coast of Florida are up for adoption.  These manatees have a known history because they have been followed over the years by researchers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. Several of these manatees winter at the warm water discharge area of Tampa Electric Company.

FWC manatee researhers on board a boat donated by Save the Manatee Club.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff on board a manatee research boat purchased by Save the Manatee Club. (Photo courtesy FWC)

East Coast: In the summer, when water temperatures are warmer, manatees travel freely around Florida's rivers and coastal waters. Some manatees travel outside of Florida, and two manatees have gained fame when they were documented as having traveled to the northeastern part of the United States. Their names are Chessie and Ilya, and their movements are followed by the U.S. Geological Survey’s Sirenia Project, an agency that tracks manatees along the U.S. east coast.

Chessie the manatee.
Before his most recent appearance in Maryland in July 2011, Chessie's last confirmed sighting was in August 2001 at the Great Bridge Locks in Virginia. (Photo courtesy USGS, Sirenia Project)

Alabama: Summer sightings of manatees in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina are relatively common. The most recent addition to Save the Manatee Club's adoption program is named Bama, who has been sighted in Alabama waterways each year since 2009. Bama is being tracked by Dauphin Island Sea Lab’s Manatee Sighting Network in Alabama.

Zewie the manatee wears a tracking device.
Bama made history in 2009 when she became the first manatee ever captured and tagged in Alabama waters. (Photo courtesy DISL's Manatee Sighting Network)

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Read more about the manatee adoptees and see photos.

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