Three New Manatees Now Swimming in Manatee Springs at the Cincinnati Zoo

Posted October 5, 2023

Nolia, Amethyst, and Waffles settle in after long journey from Tampa 

Three orphaned manatees arrived at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden late on Sunday, October 1, and have been acclimating to their new surroundings for the past few days.  Visitors will be able to see Nolia, Amethyst, and Waffles starting tomorrow during regular Zoo hours. These manatees will remain at Manatee Springs for rehabilitation until have all hit their goal weight of at least 600lbs (the goal weight for them to be released back into Florida waters).  

Photos and video | Infographic 

“The girls are doing great, and we were even able to open Manatee Springs sooner than expected,” said Kim Scott, curator of mammals. “With the arrival of these three, Cincinnati Zoo will have cared for 29 manatees since we began participating in the Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP) in 1999.  It’s never routine, but I will say that this transfer was about as smooth as it gets.” 

Cincinnati Zoo transported the three manatees that it’s been rehabilitating for the last year to Florida on 9/29, along with five manatees that Columbus Zoo had been caring for. Five young manatees caught the return flight back to Ohio, accompanied by a Columbus Zoo veterinarian and Cincinnati Zoo Animal Care team member.  Two went to Columbus and three to Cincinnati.  

These orphaned manatees were rescued in early 2023 and will remain at the Cincinnati Zoo until they hit their goal weight of at least 600 pounds.  

Nolia  Waffles  Amethyst 
Rescued 1/10/2023 in Magnolia Springs/Citrus County. Rescue weight was 148 lbs.  Current weight: 265lbs.  Rescued 1/27/2023 in Port of the Islands. Rescue weight was 185 lbs.
 Current weight 325lbs. 
Rescued 2/21/23 in Idiot’s Delight Spring-Kings Bay/Citrus County. Rescue weight was 146 lbs.  Current weight 275lbs. 

Cincinnati Zoo’s job as a second-stage rehabilitation facility is to provide plenty of food, primarily lettuce, and veterinary care until the manatees are big and strong enough to be returned to Florida waters.   

The Florida manatee, downgraded from endangered to threatened in 2018, is at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress, and disease are all 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. Populations range-wide are believed to be at least 13,000, with more than 6,500 in the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico, mostly in Florida. 

In addition to seeing the new manatees this weekend, visitors can take part in the Zoo’s Monarch Festival, presented by Simple Truth, on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This fun and educational, family-friendly event celebrates monarchs at the start of the fall migration. Learn how you can keep these amazing pollinators safe during their long journey.  

The Zoo opens daily at 10 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Cincinnati Zoo members enjoy early entry at 9 a.m. until November 16. DID YOU KNOW…. You pay more than $10 less per ticket, on select days, when you purchase tickets online!  That’s a $40 savings for a family of 4!