Our manatees Hugh & Buffett are two of the most charismatic residents of The Aquarium. You can find them munching on their lunches around noon daily—they eat 72 to 84 heads of romaine lettuce each day! Originally born at the Miami Seaquarium, Hugh and Buffett came to Mote in 1996. As animal ambassadors, these half brothers introduce thousands of visitors to manatees each year and help spread the word about how you can protect endangered manatees in the wild.
But their role at Mote goes beyond being good ambassadors for their species. Hugh and Buffett are the only manatees in the world trained to participate in special manatee research projects designed to help us understand how manatees perceive their natural environment. We're studying everything from their eyesight, to their hearing to the tiny hairs, called vibrissae, that cover their bodies. Understanding how manatees navigate their world is allowing resource managers to better understand them and protect this endangered species in the wild.