Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Say Hooray for the Life of the Manatee!

manatee Two days ago a friend phoned and said "You should see how many manatee are around my boat right now. I don't think I have ever seen this many." He had just returned to Garrison Bight after a morning of fishing and discovered a large group of manatee swimming around Garrison Bight Marina.

I headed over and saw at least 12 majestic manatee slowly swimming around the basin. There may have been as many as 15. One had noticeable boat-propeller scarring on its back, but otherwise they looked happy and healthy. I snapped a few photos and am posting them here to share with you.
manatee photoThen yesterday it was announced that the manatee population in the state of Florida has improved to the point that the animal may be removed from the endangered list and instead put on the threatened list. This years manatee count numbered 2800 in Florida - a large improvement from just a few years ago.
No wake zones/manatee zones have no doubt improved the manatee population. I hope that the manatee continue to improve. Officials have claimed that downgrading the manatees designation will not remove protections - such as the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Lets hope so.
manatee pictureAbove all, laws or no laws, it is humans that can do the most to protect manatees. Boat SLOWLY AND BE ON THE LOOKOUT in areas that manatees are likely - especially marinas and nearshore waters. And do not feed manatees water, lettuce, or anything else. Otherwise, you will be training them to visit the most dangerous places for them.

Say Hooray for the life of the manatee!
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Anonymous said...

Great pics. And thanks for the "do not feed info." Feeding keeps these guys in marinas and canals, the very places they're most likely to get hit by boat props. Manatees will always show up for free food and drink. It's easier than foraging, however foraging provides all the food they need and water comes from the vegetation they eat.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the story and the pics. I live in Ft Myers, Lee County FL. We have unfortunately had 33 reported manatee deaths in the last 2 weeks. Most appear to by boaters and red tide. But if everyone continues to do their part, we can help control the number of deaths outside of red tide.

veggiegator said...

You've probably heard the more recent news, that the Governor wrote a letter to FWC asking them NOT to downlist them (yet) until further studies on population can be determined. I'm so happy! I never saw any manatees when I lived in the Keys. See my 9/13/07 post.