(Photo: MALCOLM DENEMARK/FLORIDA TODAY)
Good news! I’ve just heard that manatee deaths for 2014 were much lower as compared to 2013. Stats still need to come in final the final few days of 2014. However Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute reports that as of December 19th, there were 361 manatee deaths in 2014, down from the record of 811 manatee deaths in 2013. The 2014 number is also a third less than the 5-year average of 552 manatee deaths.
There were 67 manatees killed by watercraft in Florida, which accounted for 19 percent of the overall 2014 death toll, compared with the 5-year average of 82.
Dr. Katie Tripp, Director of Science and Conservation at the Save the Manatee Club said, “It’s one of those things that it was a better year than last year, but last year was really horrible.”
Florida Manatees (that’s me 🙂 ) are a subspecies of the West Indian manatee. We’re currently listed as “endangered” and are at risk from both natural and man-made causes of injury and death. Our exposure to cold stress, red tide, and other diseases are the natural challenges we face each day. The man-made issues facing us are; boat strikes, flood gates (or locks) and also getting caught and tangled up in fishing gear.
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 …
~ Kobee Manatee