Which Ohio-themed name should be given to Columbus Zoo manatee?

Are you the type of person who always has two cents jingling around in your pocket? Well then why don’t you throw them into the Columbus Zoo manatee calf naming contest.

Now until June 22, you’ll have the opportunity to choose the zoo’s female orphan manatee from a list of four options that each carry significance to the state of Ohio:

  • Carmen: A nod to “Carmen Ohio,” The Ohio State University alma mater. 
  • 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.


  • 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.

The yet-to-be-named manatee calf along with her mother were rescued off the coast of Florida. Unfortunately, the calf’s mother died from serious injuries two days after the rescue.

The orphaned calf built up her strength in the care of a team of experts at SeaWorld Orlando and was relocated to the Columbus Zoo in April.

Once she completes her rehabilitation journey, she will be rereleased back into Florida waters.

Participants can cast one name vote every 24 hours on the Zoo’s website. The name of the female calf will be announced on the Zoo’s social media accounts and website on June 25.


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