Hundreds of manatees on the move in Palm Beach, Broward counties; boaters cautioned
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Media contact: Gabriella B. Ferraro, 772-215-9459
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) cautions Palm Beach and Broward county boaters to
be on the lookout for manatees moving to and from warm-water
refuges, particularly area power plants. Boaters should slow down
and strictly obey posted speed restrictions in manatee-protection
A recent aerial survey noted more than 800 manatees
in the waters of Palm Beach County, most around Florida Power and
Light's Riviera Beach Power Plant and the Port of Palm Beach, but
some small groups were traveling in the Intracoastal Waterway. This
is the largest number of manatees counted in a single aerial survey
in Palm Beach County.
More than 900 manatees were observed in aerial
surveys conducted recently in Broward County. These manatees are
congregating primarily around FPL's two power plants: Port
Everglades and Lauderdale.
The FWC urges boaters to take special care to avoid
coming close to these marine mammals that are already stressed
because of the cold snap. FWC law enforcement officers have
increased patrols and are 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.
To report a distressed or dead manatee, call the
FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).