Biography of Howie
First Identified: 1971
Howie is known for being one of the most playful and popular manatees wintering at Blue Spring State Park. He has returned to the park every winter since 1971, and spends the cold days enjoying the warm spring water. Like most manatees in the wild, Howie bears boat injury scars. One scar has left a "x" mark on his back.
Howie has earned quite a reputation at the park due to his antics. The most famous story involves Howie and a research canoe. In the canoe were two US Fish and Wildlife researchers. Also in the canoe was all of their equipment, cameras, etc. Howie "innocently" bumped against the canoe, overturning it and dumping the researchers and all of their materials into the water. Rumor has it that Howie swam a safe distance away and watched the confusion with a pleased look on his face!
This playful gentleman has no fear of people, and likes to have his photograph taken. He and his pal, Floyd, another Save the Manatee Club adoptee, often try to nudge each other out of the way in order to be the one to be photographed. In fact, Howie will often nudge any of the manatees out of the way whenever a camera is present. As a result he, like Floyd, has been photographed many times.
Howie made quite a name for himself by being in a National Geographic Magazine pictorial. He can be seen on pages 412-413 of the September 1984 issue. In the photographs, he is taking photographer and Club staffer Patrick Rose for an impromptu underwater barrel roll!
At the park, Howie's playful side shows when he repeatedly appears in the swimming area. Swimmers are not permitted in the water with manatees, so when a manatee appears in the area the people must leave the water. Howie, the tease, seems to know this, and often moves right in and takes over the swimming area for himself. Howie is very social, and has been known to hang out with just about all of the SMC adoptees, particularly Floyd, and with a number of non-adoptee manatees wintering in the park.
Blue Spring State Park is near Orange City, Florida, about 40 minutes notheast of Orlando. The spring's water naturally maintains a year-round temperature of 72 degrees and is an attractive winter refuge for manatees who seek this warm water when the surrounding waterway temperatures become too cold for them to tolerate.
Source: Save the Manatee Club. Also visit for more information and updates on Howie.