It’s time to celebrate again! Watercraft collisions with manatees are down this season! Our manatee season closed on March 31st when the slow-speed zones for us ended. We’re now heading out into the open waters eating seagrass and enjoying much larger real estate to swim in! The slow-speed zones will go into effect again on November 15th when we head into Florida’s warmer natural springs and warm discharge waters from energy plants such as TECO.
This season, there were only a total of three endangered manatees killed by watercraft collisions in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. And this shows everyone that our watercraft friends are paying close attention to the speed zones. In 2014 there were five manatee deaths from watercraft and in 2013 there were also five deaths.
Pat Quinn, Broward County’s manatee coordinator said, “Considering that for a few months we had hundreds and hundreds of manatees in the county, one watercraft mortality seems to be pretty good. It indicates boaters are really obeying the speed zones.”
Another good thing about this season was the relatively warm weather in south Florida. This resulted in a big number of manatees staying in northern Florida and south Georgia instead of traveling deeper south to escape the cold. Also, Florida did not see any mass manatee deaths this season due to red tide. The 146 unexplained manatee deaths near Indian River Lagoon in 2012 and 2013 also seems to have disappeared.
Martina DeWit, a veterinarian with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Manatee Program said, “We haven’t had any major cold or red tides.”
If you see any sick or injured manatees, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at: 1-888-404-FWCC. They are the folks who are responsible for rescuing us in Florida.
Here is a cool link for you to learn more about how we’re rescued and brought into rehabilitation…
Here’s another awesome link to learn more about manatees…
~ Kobee Manatee