New record: 729 manatees gather at Blue Springs State Park during Florida cold snap

ORLANDO, FL JANUARY 17 2022: Manatees gather in warm spring water at Blue Springs State Park in Orange City, Florida on Monday, January 17, 2022. (Zack Wittman for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A new record number of manatees has been set at Blue Springs State Park. 

The Save the Manatee Club said park staff counted a whopping 729 manatees in the river, breaking its previous record of 721 manatees in January of last year.

Officials said cold weather can be harmful to the beloved state marine mammal, – as they may suffer from cold stress or hypothermia – so they typically head to state springs where the temperature is the same year-round (roughly 70 degrees), and huddle among each other for warmth. At the Blue Spring, the waters are 72 degrees.


Though the manatee population is thriving in the Central Florida spring, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) continues to investigate a high level of manatee mortalities.

They've responded to multiple manatee rescues along the Atlantic coast of Florida and manatee biologists said they are working hard to respond to the public's report of distressed manatees.

If you see a sick, injured, dead or tagged manatee, you're asked to call FWC Wildlife Alert toll-free number 1-888-404-FWCC (1-888-404-3922).