Visit new manatees at the Cincinnati Zoo starting Sunday

The Cincinnati Zoo is rehabilitating three new manatees named SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan. Guests can visit the manatees starting Sunday, March 28, 2021. Photo courtesy the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
The Cincinnati Zoo is rehabilitating three new manatees named SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan. Guests can visit the manatees starting Sunday, March 28, 2021. Photo courtesy the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Say ‘hello’ to SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan

Guests at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens can welcome three new manatees to the zoo starting Sunday.

SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan arrived at the zoo earlier this week and will stay in Cincinnati until they can be rehabilitated and released to Florida.

The manatees are the first to arrive at the zoo since the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Manatee Springs was renovated.

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“We started renovating our manatee facility after our last two residents, Pippen and Truffleshuffle, returned to Florida in September of 2020 and stepped up the construction schedule so we could provide a home for these three orphans,” said Cincinnati Zoo curator Winton Ray.

Initially only two of the manatees, Alby and Manhattan had names. The zoo’s manatee care team was given the opportunity to name the third and selected SwimShady. A gar named Snoop Logg is also at the Manatee Springs exhibit.

The Cincinnati Zoo has been a part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Manatee Rescue and Rehabilitation for more than 20 years. The zoo has cared for 23 manatees, 18 of which have been returned to Florida.

“We were originally slated to receive two animals,” Ray said. “The third animal was added as result of the significant influx of rescued manatees at SeaWorld Orlando. We look forward to helping these youngsters grow and eventually return to their native home.”

The zoo is one of two facilities outside Florida providing non-critical care to manatees. By offering second-stage care, the Cincinnati Zoo helps free space at critical care facilities while also allowing Ohioans a chance to see manatees up close.

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“The goal of the MRP is to rescue, rehabilitate and release manatees, and we’re honored to play a role in this important conservation work,” said Ray. “In addition to rehabbing manatees, we get to educate and inspire visitors when they see these amazing creatures.”

The Florida manatee was downgraded from endangered to threatened in 2018, according to the zoo. Existing threats includes exposure to red tides, cold stress, disease, boat strikes, crushing by flood gate or locks and entanglement or ingestion of fishing gear.

To visit SwimShady, Alby and Manhattan and other animals at the Cincinnati Zoo, visit www.cincinnatizoo.org. Reservations and face masks are required at this time.

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