CINCINNATI — May I have your attention, please? Will the real SwimShady please stand up? Alby and Manhattan, too.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden rescued three young manatees Wednesday, the latest in its collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to help preserve and rehabilitate Florida's threatened manatee population.
"The goal of the (program) is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release manatees, and we're honored to play a role in this important conservation work," said zoo curator Winton Ray in a news release. "We look forward to helping these youngsters grow and eventually return to their native home."
All three males were rescued as orphans from Florida waters and transported to Cincinnati, where they will remain until they are ready to return to their natural habitat.
Manatees are back in Manatee Springs! Three young manatees arrived in Cincinnati early this morning and can be seen by guests starting this Sunday, March 28. The orphaned males will be rehabilitated until they are ready to return to their native Florida waters. pic.twitter.com/Gi4ph7zAQz— Cincinnati Zoo (@CincinnatiZoo) March 24, 2021
Two were already named when rescued, Alby and Manhattan, but the zoo was given naming rights for the third, which staff named SwimShady, in reference to rapper Marshall Mathers, known professionally as Eminem, and his alter-ego and award-winning 2000 hit, "The Real Slim Shady."
SwimShady won't be Manatee Springs' first resident named after a rap artist: A garfish living in the facility is named "Snoop Log," after Calvin Broadus, known professionally as Snoop Dogg.
Two former residents of the zoo's Manatee Springs exhibit, Pippen and TruffleShuffle, returned to Florida last fall, at which point renovations began on the facility. The three manatees are the first to arrive since those renovations began.
The Cincinnati Zoo has cared for 23 manatees over the last 20 years, 18 of which have returned to the wild. TruffleShuffle was the most recent to return, released in the Tampa Bay area in September.
The zoo is one of only two facilities outside Florida that provide non-critical care to manatees, a species threatened by both natural and man-made causes.