New Manatee in Tank at Manatee Springs

Posted October 28, 2015
BamBam and Betsy together in the tank.
BamBam and Betsy together in the tank.

15th manatee to be sent to Cincinnati Zoo for rehabilitation

CINCINNATI (October 28, 2015) Florida manatee “BamBam” is the newest Manatee Springs resident and the 15th manatee to be sent to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden to be rehabilitated. The two-year-old male was rescued from Desoto Canal in Brevard County, FL, in January 2015, and has been receiving critical care for severe cold stress at SeaWorld Orlando. SeaWorld’s Rescue Team is on call 24/7, 365 days a year, and always ready to help an animal in need.

Video of BamBam and Betsy swimming in the tank.

“He is quite energetic, which is what you’d expect from a young manatee in a new environment. The cold stress on his tail has caused some tissue damage, however it does not appear that his mobility is compromised at all,” said Cincinnati Zoo curator Winton Ray. “Upon his arrival in Cincinnati, BamBam weighed 335 pounds, which represents a healthy, 100-pound weight gain since June.”

Manatee Springs keepers have a watchful eye on BamBam
Manatee Springs keepers have a watchful eye on BamBam

He joined 25-year-old “Betsy,” who weighs almost seven times as much as he does, in the main tank at Manatee Springs just two days after arriving in Cincinnati on October 23. “Since being introduced to Betsy, keepers have seen exactly what they expected and were hoping for,” says Ray. “He is very ‘clingy’ towards her, and she is patient and gentle with him.”

BamBam came to Cincinnati without a name. To express the Zoo’s gratitude for their ongoing, generous support of its manatee program, the Gross Hutton family (Blue Manatee Bookstore owners) was given the opportunity to name the new guy.  They used the first letters of their three daughters’ names – Blythe, Astrid and Matilda – to come up with Bam… and then added another Bam!

The Cincinnati Zoo is one of two U.S. Zoos outside of Florida that participate in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Manatee Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release Program. The goal of this program is to rescue and treat sick or injured manatees and then release them back into the wild.

The Manatee Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. Information about manatees currently being tracked is available at The endangered Florida manatee is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by flood gates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.