Manatee Sightings Update: April 4, 2023

by Cora Berchem

It was a fairly mild winter at Blue Spring 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 24th. Check out some photo and video highlights from this season!

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


Lenny made quite a few visits to the park this winter season. Here he is snoozing on December 22nd.

A Playful Group

Watch: A big group of manatees cavorting (playing) by a fallen log in the Blue Spring run on March 21st.


Lily was one of the adoptees who returned for the small cold front in March. Our research team took this picture of her on March 21st.


Philip also returned for the small cold front on March 16th.

Paddy Doyle & Friends

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

Sharing the Spring

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

Algae-covered Kasper prior to his rescue.
The FWC Research and Rescue vessel and crew working to rescue Kasper.
Kasper following his rescue, awaiting transport to SeaWorld, where he will be rehabilitated.

In Case You Missed It: 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 17th 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.

Check out some recent videos and photos of Annie and her new baby!

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