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Nature Calls
home : features : nature calls
May 16, 2022


11/22/2021 1:23:00 PM
Manatees are on the move!

November is Manatee Awareness Month, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is reminding people on the water to slow down and look out for migrating manatees. As water temperatures cool, manatees are naturally migrating to warmer waters around the state. Go slow and look out below to allow them to swim safely. While manatees are large, they can be difficult to see in the water. That is why it is important to follow boating guidelines in manatee protection zones: motor slowly, wear polarized glasses, and always give them space. Manatee protection zones are marked by waterway signs and maps of manatee protection zones are available online at MyFWC.com/Manatee by clicking on “Data and Maps.”
Manatees depend on water warmer than 68 degrees Fahrenheit to survive the winter, so in the fall they travel to Florida springs, power plant discharges and other warm-water sites. Remember: Disturbing manatees at warm-water sites can cause them to swim out of those protected areas and into potentially life-threatening cold water. During the colder months, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to prevent manatees from being injured or killed by motorboats or personal watercrafts. Boat strikes continue to be a major threat to Florida manatees. FWC law enforcement officers are on patrol in state waters to inform boaters of the seasonal manatee speed zones and take appropriate enforcement actions. Physically handling a distressed or stranded manatee might cause more harm. Instead, report injured, distressed, or dead manatees to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922) or dial #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone so trained responders can assist. The FWC takes manatee conservation seriously by actively implementing science-based conservation measures that are making a difference for manatees and habitat. Resources for boaters, educators and other interested members of the public are available at MyFWC.com/Manatee. What should you do if you see a manatee? The Viewing Guidelines page provides helpful tips on respectfully viewing manatees, additional guidelines for boat and personal watercraft operators, and information on what you can do to help these amazing aquatic mammals.
Are you interested in supporting the FWC’s manatee research, rescue and management efforts? You can purchase a Florida manatee license plate or donate $5 to receive a collectable FWC manatee decal. Both are available from your local Tax Collector’s office.
If you would like to see manatees up close, visit Janus, Iclyn, and Aria at The Bishop Museum of Science & Nature. These three manatees are currently receiving care in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat. The Bishop is located at 201 Tenth Street West in Bradenton. For more about what the museum offers and ticket prices, go to www.bishopscience.org.





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