The officials from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission prompts all boaters to be very careful this month because Florida manatees are searching for warmer waters. All fishers, tourists, and residents must slow down their boats to prevent any collision with one of these enigmatic marine mammals.
Florida manatees weigh up to 1,000 pounds and become quite active in November as they are trying to find a warmer environment to spend the winter months. Wildlife officials urged boaters to slow down especially in the areas where Florida manatees roam.
Mortality Rates Among Florida Manatees
Until now, over 91 manatees have been killed after colliding with boats. Also, experts concluded that the animals died because the boats had a high speed at the time of the collision. According to Carol Knox, FWC official from the Imperiled Species Management Section, all boaters who slowed down brought their contribution to the Florida manatees’ security.
Knox underlines that thanks to the vigilance of these boaters, the average manatee population has recovered over the past few years. However, many efforts are needed to protect and preserve this species, which has almost become extinct in the 20th century.
Wildlife officials will set seasonal protection sites along Florida’s waterways starting from Tuesday, the 15th of November. It is worth mentioning that more than two million dollars have been invested in several conservation projects.
The Current Statistics
Florida manatees are endemic in the Sunshine State waterways. This mysterious marine mammal has been under the Endangered Species Act since 1966. Fortunately, the manatee population increased to 6,000 specimens over the past four decades.
One of the greatest initiatives was led by school children in 1975 when the Florida manatee was designated as state’s iconic marine mammal. Although many people thought that this species would become extinct, state wildlife officials developed various educational and management projects to help manatees recover.
Residents can donate funds to support the manatee conservation program. Also, many specialty license plates called Save the Manatee have been recently sold. The money will be used to support the development of research and management projects aimed to conserve and protect the next generation of Florida manatees.
Image Source: Wikipedia