Meet “Isla Bella” the Manatee

We are pleased to introduce “Isla Bella”, our honorary manatee adoptee here at Isla Bella Beach Resort. We adopted her in partnership with Save the Manatee Club, who awarded us the opportunity to officially name and exclusively adopt a Blue Spring manatee as thanks for our fundraising and advocacy efforts for manatees. Club researcher Wayne Hartley chose manatee U35/19 as an excellent candidate for Isla Bella.

The Story of "Isla Bela"

On November 18, 2019, a manatee with a triangle-shaped scar on her right flank arrived at Blue Spring State Park with a calf in tow. Researchers determined that the scar pattern did not match any of the previously identified manatees at the park, assigned the identification number U35/19 indicating that she was 35th new, identifiable manatee recorded by Save the Manatee Club researchers during the 2019-20 season.

At the end of each season the researchers go through all the photos and footage to see if there are any matches to manatees from previous seasons. They also check with the United States Geological Survey Sirenia Project (USGS) to see if there are any matches to manatees seen elsewhere in Florida. U35/19 was not found to match any manatee previously sighted, and she was given the name Isla Bella.

Even though this is the first recorded sighting of Isla Bella, there are a few things we already know about her. Manatees reach sexual maturity around five years old, and manatee mothers nurse their young for one to two years. Since Isla Bella’s calf still seemed to be young when the pair appeared at the park, we can estimate that Isla Bella is at least five years old. Some manatees show up at the park once and move on to another warm-water refuge for the winter, however, Isla Bella made several visits over the course of the season. Notably, she appeared with her calf on Save the Manatee Club’s above-water webcam in January and February 2020. We hope she continues this trend in future winter seasons.

You can watch manatees at ManaTV.org where we feature live streaming during manatee season and prior recordings all year round. If you are watching any of the footage from our webcam or visiting Blue Spring State Park in the winter, try to see if you can spot Isla Bella. The spring’s water naturally maintains a year-round temperature of 72 °F and is an attractive and vital winter refuge for manatees.

Visit SavetheManatee.org

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