Manatee Sightings

CC the manatee swimming upside down.

Jacksonville, Florida: In August, Lauren Ogburn emailed and asked for one of our public awareness waterway signs. She sent this picture of a couple of manatees taken near her dock. "We live on the St. Johns River," said Lauren, "and there are MANY manatees, eating, playing, resting around our dock. Gotta love 'em!"


Crystal River, Florida: In June, photographer David Schrichte took several dramatic photos of CC the manatee coming out of a barrel roll, right in front of the camera. (Photos © David R.Schrichte)

Manatee at Blue Spring State Park

Merritt Island, Florida: In June, Patricia Tierney sent the above photo of a manatee who stopped by her dock with two young calves. "Poor old girl," said Patricia. "Do you have a story on her? She has very distinctive scars." After an inquiry to the U.S. Geological Survey's Sirenia Project, we learned that the manatee is known as "Kee," a female first documented in 1985 who is known to travel from Brevard County to Miami. The scars that Kee bears are graphic evidence of the dangers that manatees face each day.


Ocklawaha River, Florida: In April of this year, Paul R. Nosca and Captain Erika Ritter spotted five manatees on the Ocklawaha River, which flows north from central Florida until it joins the St. Johns River near Palatka. They reported that the manatees were feeding and swimming for about an hour and that one of them had a #47 tattoo. Adoptive parents of Phyllis from Blue Spring will be delighted to know that #47 is Bertram, one of her two twins born in 1991.

Two manatees in a mating herd.

Marco Island, Florida: In August, Barbara Schaefer sent these photos of a manatee mom and her newborn calf and shared this endearing story: "We live on a canal that is the farthest lot in Marco Island from open water," said Barbara. "Imagine our great surprise and joy when we looked out to the canal and saw a mother manatee visiting us. Upon further investigation, we saw that the mother was tightly joined to a newborn calf. She and the calf stayed put under our docks for a full 48 hours, and we are assuming that the calf had just been born. The mother, herself, was on the small side and had only one tiny propeller scar on her back and very few barnacles, so we think that she was rather young. It was amazing to see how the mother cared for her little calf and raised her body to the surface in order for the calf to take a breath. We never saw the calf separate from her side (as if cemented there), and we spent many hours sitting quietly on the dock just watching. Our grandchildren (ages 16, 13, and 11) were overwhelmed to witness such an event as they have been devoted manatee fans for their whole lives."

SCF Microgravity Manatees Team Video

Melbourne Beach, Florida: In September, Save the Manatee Club member Carol Nash sent a photo of the public awareness sign we had sent her and related this funny story. "We occasionally have manatees visit our canal throughout the year," said Carol. "You can't see it in this photo, but on the other side of the dock swing is a large planter holding sweet potato vine, ice plants and caladiums, which get very full and lush in the summer months. Last year I noticed it was looking a little ragged so I trimmed it up. A week later, it was looking ragged again. As I was standing on the dock pondering what could be happening, a very large manatee's head came out of the water a good two feet (its tail was on the bottom), and it began munching on my sweet potato vine. Ah, the mystery was solved."

The mysterious disappearing vines. (Photo courtesy Carol Nash)

Caught in the act! (Photo courtesy Carol Nash)


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