About Belle

Gender: Female
Current Tag Id: 110741

Belle was rescued for cold stress in Largo, Pinellas County, Florida on March 1, 2019. She was 186 centimeters long and weighed 265 pounds at the time of her rescue. She was transported to Sea World of Orlando for care. She was transferred to Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to continue her rehabilitation, then transferred back to Sea World of Orlando for prerelease conditioning. She was released on February 27,2020 at TECO in Hillsborough County. She was 224centimeters and weighed 600 pounds. She will be monitored by Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute.

  1. 08/27/2020 09:00 AM
    • Belle was resting in a little cove of mangroves off Old Tampa Bay. Her tag was successfully changed. Afterwards she milled around the area then went back to resting. Her overall body condition could not be assessed due to poor visibility. From the surface no new scars or injuries could be seen. Gas was also observed.

  2. 08/26/2020 07:30 AM
    • Belle was traveling in north Old Tampa Bay. She stopped with a group of manatees that were feeding and joined them. After an attempted tag exchange, she traveled to another group of manatees and started socializing, then proceeded to enter a creek. She traveled for some time up this creek but visual had to be suspended as the tide started to go out.

  3. 08/21/2020 10:00 AM
    • Belle was socializing with a small group of manatees in north Old Tampa Bay. They were staying primarily in a deep boat channel. They moved a little out to the shallows, but the tide was going out, so they retreated to the deep channel again and began to rest. 

  4. 08/20/2020 08:45 AM
    • Belle was traveling in the north part of Old Tampa Bay. She encountered a group of manatees feeding and joined them. Another group of manatees were cavorting nearby and merged into the feeding group. Belle left the commotion and began traveling again. A thunderstorm suspended observations for a time but when visual was resumed Belle was again traveling towards an inland creek. Another storm interrupted the visual, once it passed the tide had receded leaving the entrance to the creek too shallow to follow.  A public visual photo showed her tag having significant damage. An exchange was attempted but not successful

  5. 08/13/2020 08:45 AM
    • Belle was feeding with other manatees in Mobbly Bay. She began to follow another manatee and they zig zagged around the bay. They passed some other manatees feeding and joined them. Gas was observed. Belle received a scheduled tag exchange however visibility did not allow for a proper body condition assessment.

  6. 08/05/2020 09:00 AM
    • Observations the previous day were unsuccessful, due to limited VHF signals from her tag. She was observed this morning traveling in a canal off Mobbly Bay. The antennae on her tag had a large amount of fishing gear entangled on it and various other items the hooks picked up. This was dragging the tag low in the water and perhaps combined with her traveling was why she could not be heard the day before. The tag was freed from all debris and Belle took a long rest under a bridge.

  7. 07/21/2020 08:30 AM
    • Belle was in the northern most part of Double Branch Creek, traveling south. She made a point of exploring every skinny little tributary, choked with tag eating trees and branches. She would occasionally stop in a spot briefly, then continue. One of her side trips opened into a series of retention ponds where she encountered another manatee. They socialized for the remainder of the observation.

  8. 07/14/2020 11:00 AM
    • Belle and friends were feeding in a shallow area in Old Tampa Bay. For the duration of the observation the group fed and socialized together. A small pod of dolphins disrupted things causing the group to move to a different area where the feeding and socializing continued.

  9. 07/07/2020 08:45 AM
    • Belle was socializing with another manatee in the Hillsborough river. They parted ways each traveling in a different direction. Belle made her way to the spring. She met up with a mom and calf and socialized briefly. Lots of duckweed was spinning in the current and Belle and friends were taking advantage of it being all clumped up and feeding on it. Belle moved to the side and milled around under some boats. She moved slowly down the shore, feeding on a variety of plants. Gas was observed twice.

  10. 06/29/2020 09:45 AM
    • Belle was resting under a yacht, in a marina off Hillsborough Bay. The yacht club’s summer sailing camp unleashed an armada of first-time sailors that roused her from her position. She milled around until the campers were gone, then met up with another manatee. They socialized for the remainder of the observation. Gas and feces were observed and her respirations while resting were every 6-7 minutes.

  11. 06/22/2020 03:00 PM
    • Belle was resting near the bank in the Hillsborough River. She slowly milled around until she found a spot to feed. A couple of manatees moved into the area and they all socialized briefly before settling back down to eat some more.

  12. 06/16/2020 01:15 PM
    • Belle was milling around in a very narrow spot in the Hillsborough River with a few other manatees. A boat entered the area and spooked them all. The boat occupants seemed interested in her tag and appeared to be maneuvering to stay close to her. Once they were educated about the tag and its purpose, they gave Belle some space. Once the boat was out of the way, the manatees found their way back to each other and began socializing. Belle rested for a bit while some of the others were feeding. She started to stir and then made it clear that she was feeding too. There was more socializing as the whole group moved a little down river. They all then turned into the current and rested, looking like a squadron of submarines. 

  13. 06/12/2020 11:30 AM
    • Belle was socializing with several manatees in the Hillsborough River. The group started to separate, Belle and one other manatee milled around behind some small islands where it looked like they could be feeding on some shore vegetation but a group of cavorting manatees barreled into them before it could be confirmed. Belle was wrapped up in the cavorting group briefly before breaking off and moving a little way upriver. She milled around all the little islands with different manatees for the duration of the visual. Gas was observed twice during the observation.

  14. 06/07/2020 10:00 AM
    • Belle was socializing with a group of manatees in the Hillsborough River. The activity escalated to cavorting and that continued for quite a while. Once the activity quieted down Belle explored around the small islands in the river, stopping to interact with some of the other manatees, here and there. Gas was observed 3 times

  15. 06/03/2020 07:30 AM
    • Belle was milling under a bridge, in the Hillsborough River. She meandered between the pilings and pillars, inspecting each one closely. Gas and feces were noted. She traveled away from the bridge, over to a rocky section of the shore and socialized briefly with another manatee that had been there. They both traveled upriver a short distance to find a place to take a rest.

  16. 03/17/2020 09:15 AM
    • Belle was milling in an area near Cockroach Bay with another manatee. They appeared to be finding something to eat on the bottom as they would raise their heads high and Belle had some vegetation on her chin. The visibility was very poor and no submerged vegetation could be identified. They both started traveling out a small tidal creek, getting to the end then returning to the pond. After a while she traveled back out the creek stopping at a spot with her friend. They both were raising their heads high and making slurping sounds.  Belle’s companion moved on and she drifted back towards the pond, then came right back to the same spot with a different manatee. She left and returned to the exact same spot a couple of times before returning to the pond.

  17. 03/12/2020 09:15 AM
    • Belle was traveling from one secluded bay out towards Tampa Bay. She stopped to greet another manatee and the two continued to the bay together. Due to low tide they had to use the boat channel, making their way to the grass flats with a research vessel escort. They meandered through the channel stopping to feed on vegetation briefly until a passing boat would disrupt them. Once they made it out to deeper water, they started working their way out of the channel. 

  18. 03/09/2020 01:15 PM
    • Belle was feeding in choppy water in Tampa Bay. The water was shallow and lots of sand and vegetation were floating up around her head. She abruptly began to travel and intersected another manatee following it further till they met another manatee. The trio started socializing bordering on cavorting, either way reducing any visibility in the water. They settled down a bit but stayed active in the area, however it was not possible to tell if they were socializing or feeding. 

  19. 03/04/2020 10:00 AM
    • Belle was socializing with every manatee at TECO. She would move from one group to another interacting with them. One group started cavorting, which she did not seem to like and traveled a little to find a calmer group. As the activity in the canal started to wane, Belle continued to instigate interaction but could not find any takers. All the others were surface resting in the sun and Belle did the same.

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