I learned the recent cold weather has forced a large heard of my manatee buddies (528 manatees) into the warm waters of Three Sisters Springs. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed Three Sisters Springs to swimmers, snorkelers and kayakers. Manatees are warm-blooded and we need water temperatures above 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive. The water temperature at Three Sisters Springs is a balmy 72 degrees Fahrenheit year round!
Ivan Vicente from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been researching Florida manatees for the last nine years. He explained, “When visitors come in swimming or paddling and there’s resting animals, there’s an immediate change in behavior where some animals leave the area.”
Vicente also said, “This year we’re seeing a significant shift of more animals using Three Sisters Springs.” On an average cold day, one can find about 65 manatees swimming in the springs. However, during this recent cold spell there was a significant increase to 528 manatees.
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’s 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