Two of a Kind! Florida Manatee Gives Birth To Rare Set of Twins
The only thing better than a baby manatee is a pair of baby manatee twins.
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Biologists have been tracking a manatee named Tomo-Bella in Florida waters since 1993, a press statement issued by the Mote Manatee Aquarium.
She was brought to the aquarium in 2012 when she and her calf had suffered wounds to the head, acted strangley, and showed signs of toxic red tide in her blood. Months later, she was released and returned to the wild.
Earlier this month, onlooker Karl Nelson spotted the manatee with two twin calves on her back on Siesta Key.
Nelson took a video of the family, and the Mote Marine Laboratory confirmed that the filmed manatee was Tomo-Bella, and the calves on her back are, in fact, twins.
“We’re excited to see that Tomo-Bella is contributing to the manatee population,” Mote Manatee Research biologist Jennifer Johnson said in a press release.
According to the aquarium, a female manatee might have twins 1.4 to 4 percent of all births. The aquarium also stated that there is little data on how twin calves might do in the wild.
While the mother manatee has had 8 calves in the 23 years she had been observed by scientists, this is the first time she has been observed with twins.
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The Mote Aquraium is now asking people who see the manatee and her newborns to take pictures and send GPS coordinates, but also to keep a safe distance.