From coast to coast and around the globe, people are watching and enjoying wild manatees in their natural habitat on Save the Manatee Club’s live webcams at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City.
This past January, the Club strategically placed underwater and above-water cameras in the park’s spring run to provide mass live streaming of endangered manatees and other magnificent Florida wildlife at www.manatv.org. Much of each day’s live views are archived for those who have missed it, or if not much is happening on any given day, so there is always something interesting for viewers to see when visiting the livecams page.
In winter, wild manatees are found in Florida at warm-water sites such as natural springs and effluents of power plants, as they are a subtropical species and cannot tolerate prolonged exposure to water temperatures below 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Blue Spring is one of the most important warm-water refuges for the Upper St. Johns River manatees, with a constant year-round temperature of 72 degrees.
“As we had hoped, Blue Spring webcam viewers have watched millions of minutes of manatees in their natural habitat,” says Patrick Rose, an aquatic biologist and Save the Manatee Club’s Executive Director. “It’s absolutely thrilling to watch manatees just being manatees, playing and cavorting. It gives viewers who might never otherwise see a manatee the opportunity to view them up close, in real time, and to observe them in their natural environment.”
Rose explains that the webcams offer unique opportunities for additional manatee research, as well as helping with preliminary health assessments of individual manatees who may be injured or sick, and to identify calves who are orphaned and need rescuing. In addition, viewers who visit the site can read the latest manatee reports from Wayne Hartley, the Club’s Manatee Specialist and former Park Ranger and Principal Investigator for manatee research conducted at Blue Spring State Park. Visitors to the webcams will also see alligators and a variety of spectacular Florida fish, birds, and turtles.
“The webcams help raise public awareness about manatees, attract countless new fans around the world, and ultimately strengthen the connection between people and Florida’s endangered manatee,” Rose adds. “Hopefully, people will come to understand the vital role manatees and manatee protection efforts play in the aquatic ecosystem.”
Save the Manatee Club is a 501-(c)-3 nonprofit conservation and manatee welfare organization, established in 1981 by world-renowned singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett and former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator, Bob Graham.