Concentrations of manatees increase as temperatures drop
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Media contact: Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130
Recent cold weather means high numbers of manatees
may be concentrated in warm-water refuges near power plants, rivers
and springs throughout the state. The Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission (FWC) cautions boaters to be on the lookout
for manatees moving into the Intracoastal Waterway reach warm-water
refuges at power plants and springs. Boaters should slow down and
strictly obey posted speed restrictions in manatee protection
"When the weather changes, large numbers of these
mammals move in and out of warm-water refuges and feeding areas,"
said Kipp Frohlich, the FWC's Imperiled Species Section leader.
"That's when the greatest danger from boat strikes occurs. This
pattern will repeat itself as winter cold fronts come and go."
The FWC and its law enforcement partners will be
increasing patrols and strictly enforcing manatee-protection-zone
speed limits to aid the animals during this period when they are
most vulnerable to vessel strikes.
To avoid striking manatees, vessel operators should
wear polarized sunglasses to help them spot the creatures in the
water; and watch for the large, tell-tale circular slicks on the
surface of the water (manatee footprints) that indicate the
presence of manatees.
For more information on Florida's manatees, visit
MyFWC.com/Manatee. To report an injured or dead manatee, please
call the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).