Manatee Observer Volunteer

One of the most enjoyable days I had this summer was on a early Thursday morning at Blue Springs, SP in Orange City as a Manatee Observer Volunteer.

I knew there was a good chance a resident manatee, Annie may be giving birth any day. I got to the Blue Spring early that morning just knowing I'd get to see this new calf. As of the night before no baby. Walking the boardwalk to the head spring I stopped at the first swim platform to check on Cassie, a rescue manatee that really hasn't left the comfort of the spring since her release back in March. A visitor told me they saw another untagged manatee at the head spring but no mention of a baby. I just knew it was our pregnant mama Annie. I joined another volunteer then we headed to the head spring. We both walked the boardwalk to see if we could see any signs of her. When I was just about to give up, there in the distance was Annie with this little (no so little) baby calf by her side. I truly believe that baby was born within minutes from my first sighting. I was the first to alert the Park Rangers and I was the first to paddle into Blue Spring after her birth to access and report to my volunteer coordinator the healthy conditions of both mama manatee and her new calf. It was clear that manatee Annie was a proud mama. As a Manatee Observer Volunteer it's our duty to educate swimmer's in the spring about the Manatees and keep people away from them. This day the swimming area had been closed due to an alligator in the run earlier. So it was just myself and another volunteer and a few other kayakers in the run that morning. We did our best to keep our distance from Annie. But, no matter where we were, Miss Annie had to swim the baby to us. She went from me, to the other volunteer, to the spring head. It's like she was showing us, "this is where it happened". I have to admit, that wrinkly little calf was just the cutest thing!!! This experience was so special and I can't think of a better reward to my summer volunteer shifts as a Manatee Observer Volunteer.

(This special day happened on August 9, 2018)

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