A new baby manatee! Help LCWA pick a name for him/her!
On Valentine’s Day 2016, a manatee in distress was reported in the Venetian Gardens canals of the Harris Chain of Lakes system. Several agencies responded and rescued the manatee before noon. The manatee was confirmed a female, in very poor condition. She was transported to Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo to rehabilitate from her cold stress condition and received extensive care for almost three months. While there she received the name “Leesburg”, reflecting the closest location to where she was rescued.
In May 2016, “Leesburg” was released into the St. Johns River at Welaka, Putnam County.
Leesburg was tracked electronically for about six months, at which time the tracking equipment failed. In spring 2016, researchers visually confirmed Leesburg to be pregnant. Manatee gestation period is 12-13 months. Adding a year to her release date and another month before she was observed in close proximity to more than one male manatee, her birthing date was estimated to be from mid-June to mid-July 2017. In late July 2017, sightings confirmed that "Leesburg" had become a mother for the first time. The Lake County Water Authority is hosting a "name the baby" manatee contest on its website. You can enter by clicking the link below.
Visit the LCWA's Manatee Page to see manatee photos and learn about the manatees living in the Harris Chain of Lakes.