Close to 1,000 Manatees Converge on Florida State Park to Keep Warm in Record-Breaking Sighting

In a mesmerizing spectacle, Blue Spring State Park in Florida became the temporary haven for an unprecedented gathering of manatees seeking warmth during the winter. The park, renowned for providing refuge to these gentle sea creatures during cold spells, witnessed an extraordinary influx of manatees into its tranquil lagoons. Tradition dictates that rangers conduct a “manatee count” each winter, and on January 21, they were astounded to discover a staggering 932 manatees scattered across the park’s warm and shallow waters. This remarkable congregation surpassed any previously recorded aggregation, showcasing the resilience and collective instinct of these marine mammals.

Manatees, often referred to as “sea cows” due to their docile grazing behavior, face challenges when exposed to water temperatures below 68°F. Despite their rotund appearance, these creatures possess just a mere inch of fat and rely on warmer waters to survive. The concentration of manatees at Blue Springs is not only a testament to the park’s historical significance but also reflects the animals’ intergenerational understanding of their environment. Cora Berchem, a manatee research associate at the Save the Manatee Club, expressed optimism, noting that the large gathering suggests a shared knowledge among the manatees, increasing their chances of intergenerational survival during adverse weather conditions. With the manatee population in Florida experiencing a notable resurgence from 1,000 to between 7,000 and 11,000 over the past 50 years, this record-breaking event at Blue Spring State Park serves as a symbol of the successful conservation efforts undertaken to protect these beloved marine mammals.

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