Columbus Zoo announces name of new manatee

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POWELL, OH (WCMH) — A young female manatee needed a name, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has announced what you voted to call her.

The young calf and her mother were rescued Feb. 8 off the coast of Florida, the zoo says. Just two days after the rescue, the mother succumbed to serious injuries. Experts at SeaWorld Orlando cared for the female calf and a young male calf named Heavy Falcon (after the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket).

Both calves were transferred to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium to continue being rehabilitated. They will be released to Florida waters when they recover. 

The naming contest ran from June 8-22 on the Columbus Zoo’s website. 

The zoo announced that “Carmen” has won as the calf’s new name. 

The zoo notes that the young female calf is more shy and cautious, with a “sweet demeanor.”

The zoo narrowed the list of names to four options that “each carries important significance to the state of Ohio.” They are as follows, with the zoo’s notes on the choices: 

  • Carmen: A nod to “Carmen Ohio,” The Ohio State University alma mater. Rooted in rich tradition, the song, which means “Song of Ohio” in Latin, is the oldest school song still used by the university and highlights — through time and change — the strong bonds of friendship.
  • Scioto: The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is nestled along the Scioto River. The river stretches 231 miles in length, and early settlers often used the body of water for transportation. More recently, restoration efforts have been initiated to reduce pollution in the river and result in healthier water for humans and wildlife. The Scioto River flows into the Olentangy River and meets the Ohio River, which subsequently flows into the Mississippi River— leading to the Gulf of Mexico, where manatees can be found. This connection is reminder of how actions we take in Ohio can make a positive impact for the future of manatees and their habitats.
  • Trillium: Trillium grandiflorum can be found in all 88 counties in Ohio and was adopted as Ohio’s state wildflower in 1987. These delicate flowers blossom around the time this young manatee arrived at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Sloopy: Written in 1965, “Hang on Sloopy” by the McCoys is the state rock song of Ohio–the only state to have an official rock song. After already facing many challenges in her young life, this rescued manatee has demonstrated resilience and her will to “hang on” in order to overcome the odds—and to fight for her species’ future.

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