Twin Manatees orphaned after their mother suffered fatal boat-related injuries arrived at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium this month as part of the zoo’s Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership.
Weighing about 100 pounds each, the twin calves were rescued from Florida waters earlier this year. Twins are extremely rare among Manatees, making up about one to four percent of births. The pair have been named Millennium and Falcon.
The twins will join Stubby, a long-time resident of the zoo, and new arrivals Jedi and Junebug. Manatees are very social animals and keepers expect the five to get along well.
Most of the orphaned Manatees taken in by the Columbus Zoo and its partners are released back into the wild once they reach adulthood and are deemed able to survive on their own.
Manatees give birth to live young and nurse their babies just like humans and other mammals. Adults typically weigh more than 1,000 pounds. They feed only on vegetation that grows on the sea floor and move slowly, never leaving the water. Manatees live in coastal waters, rivers, and inlets, where they may encounter motorboats or become tangled in fishing nets. They are listed as Vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
See more photos of the twins below.