Orphaned manatee adopted by Cincinnati Zoo

May 5, 2018 by  

Daphne the manatee has a new home—the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The facility added the female to its Manatee Springs exhibit after her mother was killed when she was struck by a boat in Florida.

Daphne is about a year old, and weighs 250lb. She is named for Daphne Sheldrick, a conservationist who specialized in caring for orphaned animals until they could be reintegrated into their native habitat. Dr. Sheldrick, who passed away at age 84 in Kenya, received an MBE in 1989 from the Queen of the United Kingdom, and in 2001, Kenya honored her with the Moran of the Burning Spear (MBS).

There are three males already in Manatee Spring – Pippen, Matthew, and Miles – and Daphne met them recently. Caretakers say she is swimming and interacting with the “boys” already.

The zoo’s Dr. Mark Campbell said Daphne came from SeaWorld in Florida, which is now so crowded with rescued manatees they had no room for more. Although Cincinnati could take her in, they are now at their limit as well.

Dr. Campbell said Matthew and Miles will probably be returning to Florida some time next winter. Pippen, however, will not be joining them. He is still smaller and 100lb lighter than the others, so will remain in Cincinnati for at least another year. Experts believe he and Daphne will be good company for each other.

In situations like this, officials could work with a flyer printing company to create a handout for visitors, describing the animals.