About Pixie

Gender: Female
Current Tag Id:

Pixie was a female orphaned calf rescued in July 2010 from Daytona Beach.  At the time she was found she was 110 cm long and weighed only 42 lbs.  She was rehabilitated at SeaWorld Florida and then resided at Columbus Zoo to continue to grow and gain weight until she was medically cleared for release.  She was released in February 2014 at Blue Spring State Park, where she spent a great deal of time attempting to socialize with swimmers.  Because of her focused interest in humans she was rescued from the park in March 2014 and brought to Lowry Park Zoo to continue rehabilitation.  On December 4, 2014, she was 249 cm long and weighed 870 lbs.  She was released again at Blue Spring State Park on January 20, 2015. 

  1. 03/10/2015 09:27 AM
    • By going further into the marshy bank from the land side wearing waders, Zack and I were able to hear both the belt and tag VHF, so we had been concerned that Pixie was there with the equipment.  However, for Pixie to swim somehow below this muck layer to where the signal is coming from would have taken a lot of perseverance and determination from what we could tell, if it were possible at all, so we still feel like there is a good chance she is not deceased and in the bog with the equipment.  After narrowing the signal down quite a bit, we now think the equipment is quite far down under the muck.  So we were unfortunately not able to get to it or get a visual on it. There were several gator tracks/wallows and one very close to where the signal was coming from.  Our best guess for now is that an alligator bit the belt VHF and maybe tore off the full set of equipment that way, and then possibly dragged it further in toward the bank deep under the muck layer.  We have seen alligator behavior around belts that suggests that the VHF signal interests or annoys them.  No animals matching Pixie’s description have been sighted, but if her equipment was torn off by a gator, the incident could have made Pixie panic and travel far from the area.   


  2. 03/08/2015 10:10 AM
    • Unfortunately it seems that Pixie has lost her equipment.  After the tag did not update for two days I was able to pick up the VHF signal of the tag coming from a bog along the east side of the lagoon just south of the spring.  It runs about 1000 ft down the east bank and comes out about 75 feet from the swampy tree-lined bank.  The muck is several feet thick, and behind the area of cattails and bulrushes there is an area of willow densely packed with trees 2-6 feet apart, most about 6 inches in diameter.  I was not successful in trying to kayak across the top of the bog and couldn’t make it through to where I could get close to where the signal was coming from, which is further into the bog toward the trees.  I also listened for Pixie’s belt throughout the spring run and in the upper and lower oxbows around the spring.  Pixie has not been reported in the spring for the last two days, and the manatee count there has been low--6 on 3/07/15 and 30 on 3/08/15 (including Sarge). 

  3. 03/04/2015 08:10 AM
    • Pixie was by herself at the boil, milling slowly. 

  4. 03/03/2015 11:24 AM
    • Pixie bottom-rested at the first observation deck with a small group of other animals. 

  5. 03/02/2015 08:55 AM
    • Pixie bottom-rested at the boil with a few other animals including a mother-calf pair, and then socialized with them and a few others when she woke up. 

  6. 02/28/2015 09:22 AM
    • She milled west down the run at Blue Spring toward the canoe beach, and then later bottom-rested at the first observation deck. 

  7. 02/26/2015 08:20 AM
    • Pixie milled around the first observation deck at Blue Spring with several other animals, then moved east up the run toward the swim area. 

  8. 02/25/2015 09:50 AM
    • Pixie was seen mouthing algae off of the cage apparatus on the north bank of the spring east of the swim area with 1 adult and 2 mother-calf pairs.  Pixie was doing most of the nibbling on algae and intermittently socializing with the others.  She milled down to the swim dock where she went to the bank and ate floating leaves and algae, socializing with other animals here and there.  Not very many animals in the run this morning; there appeared to be fewer than 75. 

  9. 02/20/2015 09:48 AM
    • Earlier in the morning Pixie was bottom-resting at the boil with 13 other animals.  An hour later she was still there, socializing. 

  10. 02/19/2015 11:47 AM
    • She socialized with 12 adults and 2 calves at the boil, occasionally nosing the bank, and then bottom-rested there. 

  11. 02/18/2015 09:46 AM
    • Pixie cavorted with at least 7 others about 50 ft off the canoe beach. 

  12. 02/14/2015 08:40 AM
    • Pixie socialized with just about every one of the 10 animals near her at the boil of Blue Spring, occasionally cavorting.  Other animals chewed on her tag. 

  13. 02/10/2015 12:20 PM
    • This afternoon Pixie rested on bottom across from the 2nd observation platform at Blue Spring in a group of about 20 adults and 3 calves. 

  14. 02/06/2015 08:25 AM
    • This morning she was briefly bottom-resting at the swim area with 4 others, then traveled up the run to the boil where she socialized with 10 adults including Sarge and one calf. 

  15. 02/03/2015 09:00 AM
    • Pixie was at the boil of Blue Spring with twelve others plus two calves.   She bottom-rested and socialized with the others.  At the end of the visual she had begun bottom-resting with one other. 

  16. 01/31/2015 12:37 PM
    • Pixie bottom-rested early this afternoon with 3 other animals in the middle of the spring run east of the swim dock. 

  17. 01/30/2015 08:04 AM
    • Pixie was at the boil a little before 8am, then moved to the swim dock with a group of other animals, socializing quite a bit.  She also spent some time bottom resting.  Later in the day she had traveled to the buoy line where the spring run and river converge and continued to leave the area with the other animals. 

  18. 01/27/2015 12:30 PM
    • Pixie cavorted and socialized with 8 other animals including Sarge at the boil of Blue Spring today, then she and 3 others settled down and began to bottom-rest there.  Before they got to sleep something woke them and they traveled together down the run.  She continued traveling to about the second observation platform and socialized there. 

  19. 01/24/2015 09:01 AM
    • Pixie was observed cavorting with a group of other animals this morning. 

  20. 03/27/2014 10:00 AM
    • Pixie was captured today at Blue Spring State Park.  FWC coordinated the capture, with a few added crew from park staff and Sea To Shore, arriving at the park around 10:00 am and needing one net set from shore at the boil.  Pixie was transported to Lowry Park Zoo.  She had a coating of algae on her back but looked good overall.  
      Our original plan was to continue close monitoring with her at Blue Spring in order to greatly reduce the positive reinforcement of human interaction she is seeking and receiving.  However, besides the level of Pixie’s aggressive pursuit of people and determination to have human contact, it has been noted that she appears to pursue more aggressively when she is ignored.  This tendency would make it impossible to deprive her of human interaction by instructing swimmers to ignore her, evidenced by all the reports of those who followed the rules and ignored her getting pursued, pinned up against the bank, grabbed, etc.  Additionally, even if this plan effectively encouraged Pixie to move on to another area, her affinity for human contact may not be extinguished by that point, which would be a big safety concern for her.
      For these reasons, the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service made the decision to capture Pixie as soon as possible and make plans for a conditioning program to extinguish attention-seeking behavior.  Thanks to all who have participated in this process. 


  21. 03/23/2014 08:30 AM
    • This morning Pixie milled around by the entrance of the spring run where she stayed for awhile.  There were 10 other animals in the area.  Later she moved into the swim area.  Swimmers were instructed to leave the water and the swim area was kept closed while she was there.  A park volunteer was observing her through the day until around 5:00 pm. 

  22. 03/22/2014 05:00 PM
    • Found  Pixie milling up at the head spring area with swimmers. She was being touched and followed and in turn was following and interacting with swimmers. After talking with the swimmers, most tried to stay away. Pixie spent the rest of the visual traveling back and forth from the head spring to the divers entry (the only part of the swimming section that was open), milling at each place with more interactions.  She only stopped to mouth the steps at divers entry or the logs up at the boil.  No other animals in the area. 

  23. 03/15/2014 05:44 PM
    • I found Pixie milling in the canoe basin area with 3 other animals.  She then traveled up to the swimming area, checking out quite a few logs along the way with one animal following close behind.  She spent the rest of the visual next to the swim dock steps, first mouthing the algae covering the steps and then bottom-resting next to a log with the same animal. 

  24. 03/07/2014 04:15 PM
    • Found Pixie at the boil bottom-resting until an animal swam over to her to check out her tether.  There were quite a few animals in the area (including Annie), and except for one brief moment of socialization with an animal her size, she traveled away from the ones who came close enough to disturb her rest or check out her equipment.  Pixie ends up at the boil every evening. 

  25. 03/03/2014 04:05 PM
    • Pixie was bottom-resting close to the swim dock, then traveled up to the spring head where she milled around for a short while.  She then traveled all the way to the entrance of the spring run.  There was a good-sized island of vegetation there that the winds today had carried right up to the entrance.  She went into it  and I was hoping she might find something she wanted to feed on but she came right back out into the run and was bottom-resting when I left.  No other animals in area. 

  26. 02/26/2014 08:30 AM
    • Pixie milled around the entrance to the Spring and then spent the remainder of the visual bottom-resting in the same area.  There were two other animals in the area near her but no socialization. 

  27. 02/22/2014 07:30 AM
    • Pixie was milling out of Blue Spring when we first got there early Saturday morning.  Once in the river, we were unable to locate her.  Around 9am Pixie traveled back into Blue Spring and milled with another manatee along the north side of the bank, opposite of the canoe beach.  When the swimmer entered the water to attempt a retag, Pixie made an immediate beeline to the swimmer.  Four other manatees came within underwater sight to check out the swimmer but left after a few minutes (Una and her calf were two of them).  Pixie was quickly retagged AGAIN.  As soon as the swimmer was out of the water, Pixie immediately swam off to join the other manatees back on the north side of the spring run. 

  28. 02/20/2014 12:30 PM
    • Pixie was found at the head of Blue Spring after losing her tag the previous night; the tag had been recovered by Blue Spring staff.  The tag had a scuff on one edge of the float ring with a break at the tether weak link.  I entered the water at the swim dock entrance with Pixie bottom-resting just downrun of the middle set of stairs.  Initial approach was unsuccessful, and once she realized a swimmer was in the water I became the focus of her attention.  After a few unsuccessful attempts at getting to her tail I exited the water to wait her out.  Unfortunately she swam to the stairs with me and just hung out.  After a while I re-entered the water and swam to the far side shallow area with her following close behind.  After a little manuvering I was able to reattach her tag with no response from her.  No other animals in area. 

  29. 02/18/2014 09:30 AM
    • Pixie spent the duration of the observation period slowly milling about and resting at the mouth of the Blue Spring run by observation platform #2.  She briefly greeted a few animals that were coming and going but never made a significant move towards either the river or spring head;  she seemed to just be loitering about.  About 25 others in the area. 

  30. 02/10/2014 09:30 AM
    • Pixie was initially observed bottom-resting just below the last step of the middle stairway of the swim platform.  Her tag soon became the focus of 2 smaller animals nearby, causing her to slowly mill about in avoidance, either just sitting on the bottom or moving away to nibble on algae from the steps, railing, and underwater camera at one point.  Eventually the other animals lost interest in the gear and she spent the remainder of the observation period slowly milling about, nibbling on algae and occasionally socializing with other animals.  There were at least 130 others in the run today. 

  31. 02/06/2014 12:40 PM
    • Pixie was found at the mouth of the little lagoon area approximately 1.5 miles south of the Blue Spring run.  She had been under a vegetation mat during my initial pass by the area, then popped out and bottom rested at the entry point for 10 minutes or so.  At this point she began to move into the lagoon, first only halfway in, then returning to the entrance only to turn around again and go deeper into the lagoon.  Water and plant movement suggested at least 1 other animal in the immediate area but I was unable to confirm visually.
      Eventually Pixie made her way out of the lagoon area and made a couple false starts northward, moving 100 yards upstream then doubling back to the mouth of the lagoon.  She eventually began traveling north with purpose along the eastern bank of the river, only slowing occasionally and never coming to a complete stop.  She was still traveling northward with the Blue Spring boat dock in sight. 


Data map is currently not present for Pixie.