With veggie cake and jazz, manatee celebrates birthday in style

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To the strains of upbeat jazz and with a vegetable cake laid on as a special treat, Canola the Singaporean manatee celebrated her third birthday in style on Wednesday.

The nearly 300-kilogram (660-pound) manatee swam around in a large aquarium as a three-piece jazz band played at a party attended by dozens of schoolchildren.

Divers swam in carrying a two-metre (6.5-feet) high “cake” made of sweet potato leaves and carrot and topped off with a “C” fashioned from cabbage, as the guests sang happy birthday.

The festivities were joined by the other 12 manatees in Canola’s herd, who jostled for bites of the cake in the aquarium.

Canola is the mascot for the River Safari, a wildlife park in Singapore. She was born there but was raised by River Safari staff after being abandoned by her mother.

To emulate the fatty milk produced by nursing manatees, her carers added canola oil to the formula they fed her -- which gave the sea cow her name.

The manatee is a marine mammal that has flippers, a flat tail and an egg-shaped head. It is classified as “vulnerable” by protection group the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

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