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Local manatee spotted with twins on Siesta Key

Mote Marine Laboratory scientists have observed Tomo-Bella hundreds of times over the last 23 years.

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  • | 2:18 p.m. April 26, 2016
  • Siesta Key
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Thanks to video shot by Siesta Key resident Karl Nelson this month, Mote Marine Laboratory scientists have confirmed a well-known manatee has given birth to twins.

Mote scientists have observed Tomo-Bella, a manatee who Nelson filmed swimming with her calves in the Grand Canal, more than 230 times over the last 23 years, according to a news release. Staff first spotted the marine mammal in 1993 in Pansy Bayou near Lido Key.

“We’re excited to see that Tomo-Bella is contributing to the manatee population, and it’s interesting to see twins from a female whose history we know so well,” said Jennifer Johnson, a staff biologist with Mote’s Manatee Research Program, in the release.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers and Mote staff rescued Tomo-Bella from the Grand Canal in 2012. The manatee had a fresh head wound and Red Tide toxins in her bloodstream.

“To me, it was interesting that she was rescued with a calf in Grand Canal along Siesta, and now she was seen there with her new twins,” Johnson said. “Manatees may go to quieter places to calve.”


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